2 Aurora Men — A National Guardsman and His Cousin — Arrested on Terrorism Charges
The U.S. Department of Justice reports Thursday that two Aurora men have been arrested — including one National Guard specialist — for allegedly conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a foreign terrorist organization commonly known as ISIS.
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 while attempting to fly to Cairo, Egypt. Jonas Edmonds, 29, a U.S. citizen, was arrested without incident at his home in Aurora.
Both defendants were charged in a criminal complaint filed Wednesday 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 for Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan at 3 p.m.
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 Wednesday from Chicago and arrive in Cairo Thursday, 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.
The city of Aurora Police Department aided the FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Illinois State Police in making the arrest, which was announced Thursday by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon of the Northern District of Illinois and Special Agent in Charge Robert Holley of the FBI’s Chicago Division.
“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 Carlin. “In addition, they plotted to attack members of our military within the United States. Disturbingly, one of the defendants currently wears the same uniform of those they allegedly planned to attack. I want to thank the many agents, analysts and prosecutors who are responsible for disrupting the threat posed by these defendants.”
“We will pursue and prosecute with vigor those who support ISIL and its agenda of ruthless violence,” said Fardon. “Anyone who threatens to harm our citizens and allies, whether abroad or here at home, will face the full force of justice.”
“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 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.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, 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 are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.