Florida woman sentenced to prison for coordinating with ISIS

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A Florida woman was sentenced Friday to five years and 10 months in federal prison for attempting to send cellphones to the Middle East to be used as bomb detonators by the ISIS terrorist group.

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Alison Marie Sheppard, 35, of Punta Gorda, had pleaded guilty in Fort Myers federal court last year to attempting to provide material support to ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Sheppard began using Facebook and other social media applications in 2016 to connect with others who supported a Salafi terrorist mindset and ISIS, according to court documents. She also used social media applications to engage in encrypted communications with people she believed were supporters of ISIS.

One of those people was later apprehended by the FBI and began cooperating with federal law enforcement. Sheppard also began communicating with two undercover agents who she believed were ISIS supporters.

In June 2017, Sheppard told the agents she could purchase and ship the cellphones for ISIS, prosecutors said. She bought 10 phones the next month and mailed them to one of the agents, believing they would be forwarded to the Middle East and used in pressure cooker bombs.

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