Two 35-year-old Illinois men, who had allegedly pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State, were charged Wednesday in a Chicago federal court as part of a conspiracy to equip an associate to join the terrorist group on the battlefield in Syria.
Joseph Jones, known as Yusuf Abdulhaqq, and Edward Schimenti, known as Abdul Wali, were arrested early Wednesday following an investigation that ran more than a year.
Jones and Schimenti, according to court documents, allegedly engaged in extensive efforts to prepare the associate for travel to the region while equipping him with cellphone detonator devices not knowing that the recruit was actually an informant for the FBI. After providing the informant with the devices Friday, the suspects allegedly drove the informant to O'Hare International Airport, believing that he was destined for Syria.
"Drench that land with they (sic) blood,'' Schimenti allegedly urged the informant, before parting company.
Beginning in the fall of 2015, the two suspects, both of Zion, Ill., allegedly befriended the informant and two undercover FBI agents, believing they shared a commitment to support the terror group.
The five men, over the course of several months, met repeatedly at locations across the region, including in Waukegan, Bridgeview, Highland Park and Chicago. During those meetings, according to court documents, the two suspects "discussed their devotion and commitment'' to ISIS.
At one meeting, Jones and Schimenti allegedly displayed photographs of themselves displaying the black ISIS flag at the Illinois State Park in suburban Zion. During a recorded conversation with the informant, Schimenti allegedly said that he would like to see the ISIS flag planted "on top of the White House.''
Earlier this year, prosecutors allege, Schimenti joined the informant in physical training sessions at a Zion-area gym, once commenting that the exercises would "make you good, you know in the battlefield.''
If convicted, the suspects face maximum punishments of up to 20 years in prison.