WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Starkville, Mississippi, couple was arrested over the weekend for allegedly conspiring and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.
The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Felicia C. Adams of the Northern District of Mississippi and Special Agent in Charge Donald Alway of the FBI’s Jackson Division.
Jaelyn Delshaun Young, 20, and Muhammad Oda Dakhlalla, 22, were charged by criminal complaint with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to ISIL. They appeared this morning for preliminary and detention hearings before U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander of the Northern District of Mississippi. Young and Dakhlalla were denied bond and remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service.
According to the criminal complaint filed in this case:
This investigation began in May 2015, when the defendant expressed a desire to travel to Syria in support of ISIL, and made several supportive statements about the designated foreign terrorist organization. Both defendants subsequently expressed their readiness to travel overseas to join ISIL.
The defendants procured passports and made arrangements to fly to Istanbul via Amsterdam. On or about Aug. 8, 2015, Young and Dakhlalla travelled to the Golden Triangle Regional Airport in Columbus, Mississippi, for their international flight. The defendants were arrested and, according to the complaint, were interviewed and both confessed to attempting to travel to Turkey to join ISIL in Syria.
The charge in the complaint carries a maximum of potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
From CBS News:
At a second hearing Tuesday in the case in Federal Court in Oxford before U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander, it was unveiled that on social media sites, Young expressed her happiness about the recent shooting in Chattanooga where five service members were killed, reports WJTV.
Judge Alexander denied them bail, saying that even though the pair have never been in trouble with the law and have relatives willing to oversee their home confinement, their desire commit terrorism is “probably still there.”
Urging the court to keep the suspects in custody, Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Joyner likened them to Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, saying that like him, they could commit violence with knives, vehicles or homemade weapons.
“They don’t need a gun to do harm,” Joyner said. “They don’t need military training to do harm. What they need is a violent, extremist ideology, and that’s exactly what they have espoused.”
FBI agents arrested them at a Mississippi airport, filing criminal charges that both were attempting and conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist group, a federal crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
The court papers say both Young and Dakhlalla are U.S. citizens. Mississippi State University spokesman Sid Salter said records show Dakhlalla graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Salter said Young was enrolled until May as a sophomore chemistry major but had not enrolled for classes since.
Dakhlalla’s relatives are “absolutely stunned” by the arrest and have been cooperating with the FBI, said Dennis Harmon, an attorney representing the family.
Dakhlalla is the youngest of three sons and was preparing to start grad school at Mississippi State University, Harmon said. The attorney also said the man’s father, Oda H. Dakhlalla, is imam of the Islamic Center of Mississippi in Starkville. …MORE
The case is being investigated by the FBI Jackson’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Clayton Joyner and Robert Norman of the Northern District of Mississippi and Trial Attorney Rebecca Magnone of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.