An Arizona woman accused of attempting to send money to al-Qaeda said it would be an “honour” to support the terrorist group, United States Department of Justice officials say.
The department announced Friday morning that Jill Marie Jones was arrested July 22 at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The 35-year-old is facing one count of attempt to provide material to support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, the DOJ stated.
If convicted, the Chandler resident could face up to 20 years behind bars, the Cornell Law School indicated.
Jones had been communicating with two undercover FBI agents for several weeks, one of which she believed to be a member of al-Qaeda, the DOJ said in a release. She agreed to send money to the undercover agent to buy rifle scopes that would be used against American soldiers, the release added.
“The communications with the undercover employees also revealed Jones’ desire to travel overseas to assist al Qaeda,” the DOJ statement read.
Investigators said Jones in May sent $500 to the FBI agent on a prepaid gift card.
She later bought airplane tickets to Afghanistan after expressing her desire to join the terrorist organization, DOJ stated in the release. Due to airport closures, Jones had to switch her flights to Turkey. She then planned to travel to Syria from there.
FBI agents arrested Jones at the Phoenix airport after she checked into her flight, the release indicated.
The prosecution is being handled by Lisa Jennis, Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Arizona and Katie Sweeten, Trial Attorney with the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
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Jones Said it Would be an ‘Honour’ to Support al-Qaeda, Investigators Say
Investigators concluded that Jones “espoused violence in furtherance of Islamic extremist ideology” and supported “retaliation against the United States military and government actions occurring outside the United States,” according to a copy of the criminal complaint obtained by Heavy.
In April, Jones shared with the FBI agent a screen shot of a chat she had with another person, court records show.
The conversation featured Jones explaining that she would “rather go and support those that do what is right, and die trying to get there, or while I am there, than live in ease here,” the complaint disclosed.
During a May exchange with the undercover employee, Jones emphasized her stance on the terrorist organization, saying, “supporting AQ against the oppressors would be an honour,” investigators claimed.
Jones Considered Supporting the Group From Arizona For an Operation Against U.S. Soldiers, Court Records Show
At one point, Jones revealed to the agent that she considered helping the terrorist organization from Arizona at a nearby base, the criminal complaint states.
But she decided that her resources would be too limited, the documents continue.
“I had at one time thought of acting here, I have base near me. But my power is limited here. My resources and it’s reach,” Jones expressed, according to investigators.