As a nation continues to discuss whether the recent terror attack in San Bernardino was simply ISIS inspired or part of a long-planned jihad, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday (Dec. 9, 2015) that an Aurora man pleaded guilty to helping plan what might have been a mass killing at a nearby military base in Joliet.
According to a Department of Justice news release, Jonas M. Edmonds, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization, and one count of making a materially false statement to a law enforcement officer regarding an offense involving international terrorism.
The charge was announced 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 Michael J. Anderson of the FBI’s Chicago Division.
Jonas Edmonds has been detained in federal custody since his arrest on March 25, 2015, by members of the FBI’s Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force. According to the plea agreement, the defendant and his cousin, Hasan Edmonds, had devised a plan for Hasan Edmonds to travel to the Middle East for the purpose of waging violence on behalf of ISIL. Jonas Edmonds admitted that he expressed his support and excitement for Hasan Edmonds’ travel, believing that anyone who supported a mujahid (a fighter) was a mujahid himself.
According to the plea agreement, Jonas Edmonds intended to carry out an act of terrorism in the United States after Hasan Edmonds had departed for the Middle East. Specifically, in March 2015, the cousins devised a plan for Jonas Edmonds to carry out an armed attack at the U.S. Army National Guard base in Joliet, during which time Hasan Edmonds was a member of the Army National Guard and had been training at the Joliet installation. According to the plea agreement, the plan called for Hasan Edmonds to provide military uniforms for Jonas Edmonds to wear during the attack, as well as a list of officers for Jonas Edmonds to kill.
Jonas Edmonds’ sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal history, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. Jonas Edmonds faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for the material support charge, and up to eight years in prison for the false statement count. U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee of the Northern District of Illinois scheduled a sentencing hearing for Jan. 27, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. CST.
Hasan Edmonds was charged in a superseding information with one count of conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. His next court appearance is scheduled for 11 a.m. Dec. 14, 2015, before Judge Lee.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Illinois State Police, the Aurora Police Department and the Illinois National Guard also provided significant assistance in the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted 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.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice news release