Joseph Jones and Edward Schimenti, two friends from an outlying Chicago suburb known as Zion, have been charged by the FBI for training and equipping purported ISIS fighters, according to reports.
The two men had been regularly attending the gym with one such “ISIS fighter,” who was really an undercover FBI agent that had been investigating the two men closely for two years. The men trained with him often at the gym and bought him cellphones from an electronics store that they believed could be used in improvised explosive devices or IEDs, intending to have the man bring them with him overseas and use them in combat against coalition forces.
On Friday, April 7th, they dropped the informant at Chicago O’hare international airport, where he had told them that he was headed overseas to fight for the Islamic State. With more than enough information to charge the two men, they were arrested Wednesday at 5 a.m. and brought into custody.
While the families of the two men expressed deep regret at the situation, FBI records uncovered in court showed that the two men had been adamant believers in terroristic ideologies for quite some time. The FBI had recorded many conversations between the men and the informants in which the two willingly shared their approval and wishful participation in terrorist acts, such as the shootings and bombing around Europe and abroad.
Not everyone was surprised by the actions and allegiances of the men. Clyde McLemore, the chairman of the Lake County BLM movement (Black Lives Matter) spoke to the Chicago Tribune and said he remembered the Schimenti speaking at an event the group was holding after a young man was shot by police officers in 2015.
“I remember him,” he said. “We had to take the mike away from him because he was too radical. In his speech, he said ‘kill the police’ and he talked about blowing up the police station.”