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Former MSU Student Pleads Guilty on Conspiracy to Support ISIL

Jaelyn Young and Muhammed Dakhlalla Jaelyn DeShaun Young (courtesy Vicksburg Post) and Muhammed “Mo” Dakhlalla (courtesy WCBI) from the 2011 Starkville High School yearbook.Vicksburg Post/WCBI
Jaelyn Young and Muhammed Dakhlalla
Jaelyn DeShaun Young (courtesy Vicksburg Post) and Muhammed “Mo” Dakhlalla (courtesy WCBI) from the 2011 Starkville High School yearbook.Vicksburg Post/WCBI

Today in the U.S. District Court of Northern Mississippi in Aberdeen, Jaelyn Young, a 20-year-old Starkville native and former student of Mississippi State University, pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a foreign terrorist organization.

Young pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock before the U.S. Marshals took her in custody to await sentencing which will be scheduled at a later date. Per plea agreement, she pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization. This charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, up to a lifetime of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and a special assessment of $100.

Last August, she was captured with her would-be husband, Muhammad Oda Dakhlalla, who is an alum of Mississippi State University, at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport in Columbus, Mississippi by the FBI. Dakhlalla pleaded guilty to the same charge on March 13, 2016.

Last May, FBI identified a Twitter user who was supportive of ISIL and even expressed desire to travel to ISIL territory as Jaelyn Young. FBI then engaged with undercover interactions on social media platforms with Young who identified herself as a recent convert then. According to the factual basis documents provided by U.S. District Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Mississippi, Young told the undercover agents that she was preparing for “hijjrah” which references to traveling to Islamic State.

In the documents, she said, “I have hijjrah partner and we are planning to leave before August. [W]e just have to be careful because the NSA is launching new investigation programs and I dont want to be trapped here:(.” [sic]

She further mentioned that her travel partner was a “brother” who she would have to marry so they could travel together without an escort. That partner was later identified as Dakhlalla.

FBI reports that in their interactions with Young, they discovered she was ready to swear allegiance to the Islamic State. She discussed that her mathematics and chemistry skills with Dakhlalla’s computer science and media skills would be useful to the Islamic State. She said, “We learn very fast and would love to help with giving medical aid to the injury In sha Allah.”

According to the factual basis documents, she stated last August:

“We will be flying direct. We live in a small town with a very small (poo) airport that doesn’t have much, if an, security. In fact when we get to Dawlah In sha Allah I can tell you about it. That’s one US weaknesses – small towns’ airports have poor funding and less educated staff so it is easier to get through.

We will leave from US on Saturday and arrive in Turkey on Sunday. As far as clothing, we don’t have anything out of the ordinary but I think I will stand out pretty well, especially my hair (big bushy curly hair) but we will choose outfits with logos or such so that we may be recognized.”

Young also left behind incriminating farewell letters that read “Do not alert the authorities. I will contact you soon. I am safe. Don’t look for me because you won’t be able to retrieve me if you tried. I am leaving to become a medic. It was all my planning. I found the contacts, made arrangements, planned the departure. I am guilty of what you soon will find out.”

Young and Dakhlalla were arrested on August 8, 2015 by the FBI agents. The factual documents can be read by clicking here: Young Jaelyn Factual Basis


Callie Daniels Bryant is the senior managing editor at HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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