A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
One Man Arrested While Attempting to Travel Abroad; Both Chicago Area Men Spoke of Using Army Uniforms, Military Knowledge and Access to Attack Illinois Military Installation
CHICAGO ― U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon of the Northern District of Illinois, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, and Special Agent in Charge Robert Holley of the FBI’s Chicago Division announced today that two Aurora, Illinois, men were arrested Wednesday night for allegedly conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a foreign terrorist organization.
Army National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmonds, 22, a U.S. citizen, was arrested without incident at Chicago Midway International Airport by members of the Chicago FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) while attempting to fly to Cairo, Egypt.
Jonas Edmonds, 29, a U.S. citizen, was arrested without incident at his home in Aurora.
After the arrests on Wednesday night, agents executed search warrants at the residences of both defendants.
The defendants were charged in a criminal complaint filed yesterday in U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois with
- one count of conspiring to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization
The initial appearances of Hasan Edmonds and Jonas Edmonds are scheduled at 3:00 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan.
As alleged in the complaint, in late 2014, Hasan Edmonds came to the attention of the FBI.
The investigation subsequently revealed that he and Jonas Edmonds had devised a plan for Hasan Edmonds to travel overseas for the purpose of waging violence on behalf of ISIL.
Hasan Edmonds, a current member of the Illinois Army National Guard, planned to use his military training to fight on behalf of ISIL.
As part of their plans, Hasan Edmonds booked airline travel to depart yesterday from Chicago and arrive in Cairo today, with layovers in Detroit and Amsterdam.
As alleged in the complaint, both defendants also planned for Jonas Edmonds to carry out an act of terrorism in the United States after Hasan Edmonds departed. In particular, both defendants met with an FBI undercover employee and presented a plan to carry out an armed attack against a U.S. military facility in northern Illinois, an installation where Hasan Edmonds had been training.
Jonas Edmonds asked the FBI undercover employee to assist in the attack and explained that they would use Hasan Edmonds’ uniforms and the information he supplied about how to access the installation and target officers for attack.
“We will pursue and prosecute with vigor those who support ISIL and its agenda of ruthless violence,” said U.S. Attorney Fardon.
“Anyone who threatens to harm our citizens and allies, whether abroad or here at home, will face the full force of justice.”
“According to the charges filed today, the defendants allegedly conspired to provide material support to ISIL and planned to travel overseas to support the terrorist organization,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.
“In addition, they plotted to attack members of our military within the United States.
“I want to thank the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for disrupting the threat posed by these defendants.”
“The arrests today are the culmination of a successful investigation that involved a great deal of coordination and communication with our law enforcement and military partners,” said Special Agent in Charge Holley.
“Throughout the course of this investigation, the defendants were closely and carefully monitored to ensure the safety of the public and our service men and women.”
Conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s JTTF, which is comprised of special agents of the FBI, officers of the Chicago Police Department and representatives from an additional 20 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Assistant Attorney General Carlin joins U.S. Attorney Fardon in extending his appreciation to the JTTF.
The Chicago Police Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), the Illinois State Police, the Aurora Police Department and the Illinois National Guard also provided significant assistance.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Barry Jonas and John Kness of the Northern District of Illinois, and Trial Attorney Lolita Lukose of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
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Here is part of what the Special Agent had in her affidavit:
On or about January 24, 2015, Hasan Edmonds sent UC1 a message in which he indicated that it was a “duty” to support ISIL or to be martyred in the process. Specifically, Hasan Edmonds stated:
“Not be easy but i’d rather struggle and strive hard in the cause of Allah rather than sit back and live a ‘comfortable’ life.
“And what you say is true brother but the banners are up.
“The State has been established and it is our duty to heed the call.
“InshaAllah we will complete our task or be granted shahada [“martyrdom”] trying.
“And yes I look forward to the training.
“I am already in the american kafir [“infidel”] army (back when I was still in this dunyah [“of this world”] and not muslim) and now I wish only to serve in the army of Allah alongside my true brothers.”
Hasan Edmonds also stated that
“I joined the united states army national guard about 3 years ago.
“I still currently have 3 years left that I have no intention what so ever of fulfilling.”
Later he says he would be willing to follow orders to act in the United States and is quoted as having written:
“Honestly we would love to do something like the brother in Paris did.”
“Now it seems we’ve found some other brothers here with the same goals as ours akhi.”
Later in the affidavit appears the following:
“Jonas Edmonds also informed UC2 that he (Jonas Edmonds) was planning to attack the military installation at which Hasan Edmonds had been training. Jonas Edmonds also advised that he wanted to conduct the attack with UC2 and that he anticipated a ‘body count’ of 100 to 150 individuals.”