WASHINGTON – Jamie Paulin Ramirez, 32, a U.S. citizen and former resident of Colorado, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Ramirez faces a potential maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine at sentencing.
The guilty plea, which was entered today before U.S. District Court Judge Petrese B. Tucker in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, was announced by Todd Hinnen, acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Zane David Memeger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; and George C. Venizelos, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division.
Ramirez was first charged in a superseding indictment filed in April 2010, along with co-defendant Colleen R. LaRose, a U.S. citizen and former resident of Montgomery County, Pa. On Feb. 1, 2011, LaRose, aka “JihadJane, aka “Fatima LaRose,” pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, making false statements and attempted identity theft.
According to documents filed with the court, Ramirez, LaRose and others conspired to obtain military-style training in South Asia and then traveled to and around Europe to participate in and in support of violent jihad.
In a series of electronic communications dated July 19, 2009, one co-conspirator (identified as CC#2 in the superseding indictment) directed another to recruit online “some brothers that can travel freely . . . with eu passports . . . [A]nd I also need some sisters too.” The co-conspirator further explained that “sister fatima will be in charge of other sister care. . . .[W]e have already organized everything for her. . . . [W]e are will[ing] to die in order to protect her no matter what the risk is.”
Ramirez exchanged e-mail messages with LaRose during the summer of 2009, in which LaRose invited Ramirez to join her in Europe to attend a training camp. For example, on Aug. 1, 2009, LaRose sent electronic communications to Ramirez stating that “soon i will be moving to Europe to be with other brothers & sisters . . . . when i get to europe, i will send for you to come be with me there . . . . [T]his place will be like a training camp as well as a home.”
In electronic communications dated on or about August 7, 2009, CC #2 recruited another individual to find brothers and sisters to go to a “camp for [military-style] training . . . and th[e]n come back to europe to do the job . . . . [T]he job is to [k]nock down some individual[s] that are harming islam.” CC#2 goes on to explain that he is structuring “an ORGANIZATION” divided into a “plan[n]ing team . . . research team . . . action team . . . recruitment team . . . finance team.”
Ramirez accepted LaRose’s invitation to travel to Europe and asked to bring along her minor male child. On Sept, 12, 2009, Ramirez traveled to Ireland with her child with the intent to live and train with jihadists. The day after she arrived in Ireland, Ramirez married CC#2, whom she had never before met in person, in an Islamic ceremony, knowing and intending that her presence in Europe, her marriage to CC#2 and her future actions would provide support for the conspiracy.
“Today’s guilty plea by Jamie Ramirez, coupled with that of Colleen LaRose last month, underscores the evolving nature of the terrorist threat we face,” said acting Assistant Attorney General Hinnen. “Many counterterrorism and law enforcement officials worked tirelessly to deal with the threat these defendants posed; I applaud their efforts and those of all of the national security professionals and prosecutors that work to keep the country safe.”
“Keeping our community and the country safe are a top priority of this office,” said U.S. Attorney Memeger. “This case and the guilty pleas are a culmination of the vigilant efforts by the FBI agents in this district, the prosecutors in my office and law enforcement officers around the globe. It underscores the importance and success of international collaboration when fighting terrorism.”
“The guilty plea in this case today is yet one more success our efforts against the continuing and evolving threats that we face,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Venizelos. “Our Joint Terrorism Task Forces work very closely with all of our partners in the law enforcement and intelligence communities to ensure that we remain vigilant, alert and creative in our approaches to identifying and preventing acts of terrorism.”
This case was investigated by the FBI Field Division in New York, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Philadelphia, the FBI Field Division in Denver, and the FBI Field Office in Washington, D.C. Authorities in Ireland also provided assistance in this matter.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams, in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Matthew F. Blue, Trial Attorney from the Counterterrorism Section in the Justice Department’s National Security Division. The Office of International Affairs in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division also provided assistance.