A former Kansas City area resident tied to the “Jihad Jane” terror plot was sentenced Wednesday to eight years in prison for conspiring to support and train with terrorists to carry out attacks in Europe.
Jamie Paulin Ramirez, 35, who grew up in eastern Jackson County and graduated from Blue Springs High School, was sentenced in federal court. Ramirez, who has been in custody since April 2010, will get credit for time served.
Prosecutors said Ramirez, now of Colorado, conspired with Colleen LaRose, known as Jihad Jane, and two other co-defendants to obtain military-style training and then travel to Europe to participate in a violent jihad, or crusade, against enemies of Islam, prosecutors said.
LaRose and Ramirez exchanged email messages in August 2009 when Ramirez accepted an invitation to a training camp in Europe. Ramirez traveled to Ireland the following month with her son, then 6, and married Ali Charaf Damache, an Algerian who has been indicted for his alleged role in the plot.
Damache, who acted as a handler for LaRose, was organizing a cell to execute attacks in Europe, prosecutors said. In mid-2009, he was searching for blond, blue-eyed women like Ramirez and LaRose who could travel freely with Western passports, the government said.
Upon arriving in Ireland, prosecutors said, Ramirez turned her son over to Damache, who groomed him to become a jihadist fighter through physical training and intimidation.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker said it was “unforgivable” for the mother to allow her son to live and train with suspected terrorists.
“I hope that your son is not permanently scarred,” the judge said.
In a tearful statement, Ramirez acknowledged making “bad decisions.” She knew within a week of arriving in Ireland that the trip at LaRose’s request had been a mistake, she said.
“I take full responsibility for my crime,” Ramirez said. “I have to live with everything I did for the rest of my life. Being incarcerated and being away from my son is the hardest thing I’ve been through in my whole life.”
LaRose was sentenced earlier this week to 10 years in prison for her role in the conspiracy and a plot to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who drew Prophet Muhammad with a dog’s body in 2007.