PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Maryland teen pleaded guilty Friday to U.S. terror charges for offering assistance to an American woman who dubbed herself “Jihad Jane” and supported an Irish terror cell bent on waging a Muslim holy war in Europe.
Mohammad Hassan Khalid, now 18, faces a 15-year prison sentence for a single count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists for his offer to raise money and recruit terrorists for jihad.
Khalid, then a 17-year-old high school student from Ellicott City, Md., was arrested last July after he corresponded with a woman who later admitted plotting to kill a Swedish artist who had offended Muslims. He was just 15 when he began online chats with Colleen LaRose, the Pennsylvania woman calling herself Jihad Jane who now faces life in prison.
Khalid was held in FBI custody as a juvenile before being indicted after turning 18. Khalid and his family are legal
immigrants from Pakistan and he could be deported following completion of his prison term. A sentencing date wasn’t immediately set.
Khalid had been offered a full scholarship to prestigious Johns Hopkins University while a student at Mount Hebron High School, where his teachers recalled his strong work ethic. But in a secret life online, he pledged to forward money to LaRose for her to pass on to the jihadists, or holy warriors, and hid a passport she sent him, according to authorities.
LaRose, of Pennsburg, Pa., was being watched by the FBI after posting online videos in which she vowed to kill or die for the jihadist cause.
LaRose was arrested in November 2009 after returning to the United States from Ireland, where authorities said she traveled after agreeing to marry an online contact from South Asia and become a martyr. LaRose intended to murder Swedish artist Lars Vilks for depicting the prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog, authorities said.
Investigators said there’s no evidence LaRose ever made it to Sweden.
Khalid was indicted along with Ali Charaf Damache, an Irish citizen from Algeria who married another American woman, Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, of Colorado, after she moved to Waterford, Ireland, to meet him.
Neither women has been sentenced.
The American women were sought for their Western looks and passports, authorities have said. Damache, known as Black Flag, was charged in the Khalid indictment but has not been extradited.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)