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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Monday, January 6, 2014

Federal Judge Sentences "Jihad Jane" To 10 Years In Prison For Role In Plot To Commit Murder Overseas

PHILADELPHIA - Colleen R. LaRose, aka "Jihad Jane," 50, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, making false statements and attempted identity theft.  LaRose, a former resident of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to the charges on February 1, 2011.  The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Petrese B. Tucker.  In addition to the prison term, LaRose was ordered to pay $2,500 fine, $400 special assessment, and must complete five years of supervised release.

The sentencing result was announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Zane David Memeger, and Special Agent‑in‑Charge Ed Hanko of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Philadelphia Division.

            “This case clearly underscores the evolving nature of the terrorist threat we now face in this country,” said Memeger.  “The Internet has made it easier for those who want to attack the American way of life to identify like-minded individuals to carry out their terroristic plans.   While today's significant sentence will help protect the community from any future threat posed by the defendant, we as a nation must remain vigilant in identifying and stopping others who are susceptible to engaging in acts of homegrown violent extremism.”

            “Today’s sentence sends a strong message to those attracted to a terrorist ideology,” said Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko. “Our Joint Terrorism Task Forces and partners in the law enforcement and intelligence communities remain committed to tracking terrorists at every level, whomever and wherever they are.”

            “Today, Colleen LaRose is being held accountable for her efforts to provide support to terrorists and encourage violence against individuals overseas,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “I want to thank the many agents, analysts and prosecutors who helped bring about today’s result.”
LaRose was charged by indictment in March 2010.  A superseding indictment was filed in April 2010, adding co‑defendant Jamie Paulin Ramirez, a U.S. citizen and former resident of Colorado.  Ramirez pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on January 8, 2014.

According to documents filed with the court, LaRose and her co‑conspirators recruited men on the Internet to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe, and recruited women on the Internet who had passports and the ability to travel to and around Europe in support of violent jihad. 

LaRose and her co‑conspirators used the Internet to establish relationships with one another and to communicate regarding their plans, which included martyring themselves, soliciting funds for terrorists, soliciting passports and avoiding travel restrictions (through the collection of passports and through marriage) in order to wage violent jihad.  LaRose also stole another individual's U.S. passport and transferred it in an effort to facilitate an act of international terrorism.

            In addition, LaRose received a direct order to kill a citizen and resident of Sweden, and to do so in a way that would frighten Athe whole Kufar [non‑believer] world.@  LaRose agreed to carry out her murder assignment, and she and her co‑conspirators discussed that her appearance and American citizenship would help her blend in while carrying out their plans.  LaRose later traveled to Europe and tracked the intended target online in an effort to complete her task.

This case was investigated by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force in Philadelphia, the FBI Field Division in New York, the FBI Field Division in Denver, and the FBI Field Office in Washington, DC.  Authorities in Ireland and Sweden provided assistance in this matter.  The Office of International Affairs in the Justice Department=s Criminal Division also provided assistance.  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.

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PATTY HARTMAN, Media Contact, 215-861-8525

Updated December 15, 2014