FBI Sting Nets Two Chicago-Area ISIS Supporters
Two men from the Chicago area face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of providing material support to ISIS.
Joseph D. Jones and Edward Schimenti, both 35, were arrested on Wednesday morning. They tried to provide cellphones and personnel to ISIS, according to an FBI affidavit. The supplies were instead given to an FBI informant.
Jones, aka “Yusuf Abdulhaqq,” and Schimenti, aka “Abdul Wali,” thought that the phones would be used to detonate improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Jones told an undercover FBI employee that he had declared his allegiance — or bayah — to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The two men also tried to help the informant travel overseas to fight for ISIS, and encouraged him to get into fighting shape, the affidavit said. Jones and Schimenti told the informant to be careful and to avoid law enforcement detection.
The sting began in September 2015, when Jones met an undercover FBI employee. The meeting took place inside the Zion Police Department, where Jones was being interviewed about a friend’s recent murder. Both Jones and Schimenti expressed support when the undercover operative later said that he wanted to join ISIS.
Other undercover agents tricked Jones and Schimenti into thinking their new friend did, in fact, make it to Syria.
One year ago, Jones and Schimenti posed for pictures holding an ISIS flag at the entrance to the Illinois Beach State Park in Zion, Illinois. Jones sent the picture to another undercover FBI agent, with whom he communicated online. ISIS supporters also posted the image after a fourth undercover FBI employee asked Jones’ permission to share it via social media.
Jones also made numerous statements endorsing violent jihad on his Google+ account, under the name “Yusuf Abdulahad,” according to the Federal government’s complaint. Among other things, Jones called moderate Muslims “weak minded material loving sellouts.” He also called jihad the “best deed,” and praised martyrdom.
Schimenti made similar posts using the Google + account “Ed Schimenti.” “Kuffar [unbelievers], we are coming to slay you,” Schimenti wrote in an April 2015 post.
In February, Schimenti and Jones met the FBI informant for a workout at a Zion gym. When the informant said that the workout would help prepare him for fighting, Schimenti responded, “Right, right, right…it’s about that strength and that endurance.”
Last week, the two men drove the informant to O’Hare Airport, thinking that he was traveling to Syria to fight for ISIS.
Jones said he was ashamed not to be going to Syria himself. And Schimenti said that he wanted the informant to “drench that land with…blood.”