RICHMOND, Va. — A woman in Virginia is being charged after attempting to aid the Islamic barbarian group ISIS, which identifies itself as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and lying to investigators about it.
Heather Coffman, 29, of Henrico County had been posting a number of statuses in favor of the terrorist sect on several Facebook accounts that she manages under different aliases. According to reports, on one of her accounts, she listed her job description as being “jihad for Allah’s sake.” Coffman also allegedly posted pro-ISIS photographs, including one that included the caption “We are all ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (Syria).”
Her Facebook posts prompted an undercover sting operation, during which an FBI agent met with Coffman and explained that he had a friend who wanted to join ISIS and become a martyr. She replied that she could help him, stating that she had contacts that could assist him with getting into Syria.
The undercover agent continued with meetings with Coffman. In one of the meetings earlier this month, the agent brought a second man with him, and the three created a secret code to discuss plans so as not to tip off law enforcement. Coffman also requested that she be provided with a list of questions for her facilitator as she wanted to handle all communication with him.
Following the meetings, the FBI visited Coffman’s place of employment last week to question her about involvement with ISIS and the matters that she discussed with the undercover agent. She denied any involvement with the Islamic group, as well as any discussion in favor of the organization with the agent, stating, “We don’t talk about things like that.” Coffman was then advised that lying to a federal agent is a crime.
She appeared in court on Monday and is being held until a detention hearing this afternoon. Her house was also raided and her computer was taken for investigation.
“You listen to the news and it’s scary to hear what they’re doing to Christians,” one neighbor told local television station WTVR. “And now hearing this was two doors down, it’s crazy. It’s upsetting.”
Coffman’s attorney, Mark Henry Schmidt, told reporters that the woman is the mother of a seven-year-old and that if she truly has connections, they are all online.
“As far as I know, she hasn’t traveled anywhere. Her connections with the outside world would be on the Internet,” he said, according to the Washington Post. “I imagine you can get into trouble on the Internet, but I imagine you can also think a lot more’s going on than really is. If nothing else, this is certainly a cautionary tale about the Internet.”
Coffman is among more than a dozen Americans who have made headlines in recent months surrounding their efforts to aid or join ISIS. As previously reported, just last month, Akba Jihad Jordan, 22, of Raleigh, North Carolina plead guilty to terror charges after he and friend Avin Marsalis Brown, 21, plotted to join the Islamic jihad. According to reports, the two told undercover FBI agents that the men sought to travel overseas, either to Yemen or Syria to wage war against the “kuffar,” who are non-Muslims, and “munafiq,” who are Muslims that are considered hypocrites. The men also outlined the weapons that they had in their possession, and noted that they would not hesitate to use them both in the United States and abroad to fight the “kuffar.”
“American citizens who offer support to terrorist organizations pose a grave threat to our national security and will face serious consequences for their actions,” John Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina, said in a statement.