Prosecutors: Ex-soldier from New Jersey provided support to Syria-based terrorist group
A former soldier from Hopatcong communicated with and sent money to a self-identified member of a terrorist group based in Syria, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.
Authorities say 53-year-old Maria Bell, also known as "Maria Sue Bell,” is charged with one count of knowingly concealing the provision of material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. She was arrested by FBI agents at her home Wednesday morning.
Bell is accused of providing material support to the al-Nusra Front, which operates in northwest Syria. Starting in February 2017, prosecutors say she used encrypted applications to communicate with and provide advice to the group.
In communications with HTS fighters, Bell cited her professional experience in specialized weapons training while on active duty in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard. Investigators say she offered to provide guidance concerning operational security issues, firearms purchases, and military knowledge.
Bell appeared before a judge in federal court Wednesday afternoon.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.
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