A Sussex County, New Jersey, woman, was arrested at her home today in connection with concealing sending money to a Syrian foreign terrorist organization, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Maria Bell, a/k/a “Maria Sue Bell,” 53, of Hopatcong, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of knowingly concealing the provision of material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. She is scheduled to appear by videoconference this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor.
From February of 2017, Bell used encrypted applications to communicate with and provide advice to fighters based in Syria who were members of the al-Nusra Front (ANF), also known by other aliases, including Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), fighting the Assad regime. Bell communicated with and provided money to one self-identified member of HTS based in Syria, identified in the complaint as “User 1.” Bell sent currency to User 1 via Western Union, using an intermediary to conceal the source of the funds, and also provided him advice on weapons and ammunition.
In communications with HTS fighters, Bell cited her professional experience – including her specialized weapons training while on active duty in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard – to provide guidance concerning operational security issues, firearms purchases, and military knowledge. She had thousands of encrypted communications with User 1 about operational planning and provided details with regard to concealing payments sent to User 1.
Her experience consisted of a total of 8 months of experience over 30 years ago. If the terrorists are turning to people like this for advice, we’ve got this licked.
User 1 made his status as an HTS fighter clear. In one communication, Bell and User 1 discussed User 1’s pledge to HTS and the ongoing Syrian conflict. Bell stated: “If Assad wins, mujahideen will be persecuted again,” and “If Assad wins, I cannot get a visa into Syria. I cannot come to you.” In the same communication, the defendant later asked User 1 if he was ready to fight:
Bell: Are you ready to fight in front line with other fighters? You are no longer young child like you used to be.
Bell: It will be frightening. But I am with you
In another communication, User 1, after discussing U.S. support for the Syrian regime, which HTS and other groups were fighting at the time, stated: “If you want to hit the Syrian airports, we will return to revenge within New York.” Later in the encrypted communication, Bell states “If there were ever an attack in New York, all Muslims and helpers like me will be arrested….”
Bell provided advice to User 1 regarding the purchase of a firearm and ammunition for User 1. They discussed the cost and type of weapons that would be good for User 1, in addition to various types of ammunition.
Bell also wired money, often at the direction of User 1, to individuals in Turkey and Syria who are supporters of HTS, knowing that the funds would support acts of terrorism by HTS. The defendant concealed the nature, location, and ownership of payments, sending at least 18 payments totaling $3,150 to several accounts used by User-1’s associates. In one communication, she expressed concern that her transfers could be tracked by U.S. law enforcement:
Bell: But I will not have my account watched more closely than it is already.
Bell: Each time I withdraw money, it is noted because Western Union is trying to track fraud and terrorists for the government.
The charge of concealment of terrorist financing to a designated foreign terrorist organization carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
She’d been under surveillance for some time. As early as 2018, she had a spat with “User 1,” a terrorist jerkwad named Abdullah Flayes, because she had the hots for him, and he refused to introduce her to his family.
But just before Thanksgiving, the two appeared to have a falling out after the militant, believed to be a man named Abdullah Flayes, refused to let her meet his family, a government transcript of their online communiques showed.
“I love you very much but it is hard for me to accept how you direct my life,” Bell wrote. “I am an independent woman in America. If I was not the woman I am, I wouldn’t be able to support you.”
So far, this story is just sad and pathetic. But it takes a funny turn. She is also the chairperson of the Party of Principle in North New Jersey.
What does one have to do with the other, I mean, other than the abject loser looks for love in all the wrong places? Probably not much. It’s just that over the past four years, a lot of us have gotten sick and tired of the crew at Reason fluffing the Russia Hoax and doing everything possible to open our borders and turn us into yet another Third World sh**hole. We got pretty tired of the same lame attacks on the administration for trying to suppress the nightly Antifa riots that made several American cities unlivable. We got tired of the casual use of “fascist” as a description of President Trump and his policies. We got tired of the speculation about whether it would take the Armed Forces to remove President Trump from the White House. In fact, over the last four years every time those of us trying to move the cause of freedom a little bit forward looked around for some help, all we got was buggered. Let’s just say the last four years have focused a lot of minds and the days of cutting slack on your penchant for drug use and sexual perversion and abortion because once every couple of years, we could find common cause are over. So, as far as I’m concerned, Bell is the fat, pasty face of the Libertarian Party. Get used to hearing about her—a lot.