By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) Two men from suburban Chicago have been convicted of conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, according to the Justice Department.
In a press release, the department said a federal jury in Chicago on ThursdayÂ convicted Joseph D. Jones, 37, and Edward Schimenti, 37, both of Zion, Illinois, each on a single count of conspiring to provide material support and resources to ISIS. Â In addition, Schimenti was convicted on one count of lying to the FBI.
U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood did not immediately set a sentencing date, DoJ said, adding that a status hearing was scheduled for Aug. 14, 2019.
The material support charge is punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while the false statement count carries a maximum sentence of eight years.
The press release noted further:
Evidence at trial revealed that Jones and Schimenti advocated on social media for violent extremism in support of the terrorist group.Â In 2015, Jones and Schimenti began meeting with undercover FBI employees and individuals who were cooperating with law enforcement.Â During the meetings, Jones and Schimenti discussed their devotion to ISIS and their commitment to ISISâ€™ violent extremist principles.Â Many of these meetings occurred in the north suburbs of Chicago.Â Jones and Schimenti at one point shared photographs of themselves holding the ISIS flag at the Illinois Beach State Park in Zion.
In 2017, the pair furnished cellular phones to a cooperating individual, believing the phones would be used to detonate explosive devices in ISIS attacks overseas.Â On April 7, 2017, Jones and Schimenti drove the cooperating individual to Oâ€™Hare International Airport in Chicago, with the understanding that the cooperating individual would be traveling to Syria to fight with ISIS.
Though the Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’ has been defeated, the terrorist group remains a threat globally, according to the Pentagon.
NPR noted in March that while the group lost its last foothold in Syria, members have sort of scattered in the wind and elements can now be found in several countries.
“It had somewhere between 35,000 and a hundred thousand fighters” at ISIS’ peak, U.S. Special Envoy Jim Jeffrey told the public broadcaster.
“They’re all in prison or dead or fled. And now we’re working to deal with the immediate situation – humanitarian reconstruction and stability and, essentially, counterinsurgency against ISIS in the northeast of Syria as well as in neighboring Iraq,” he added.
National Security Adviser John Bolton said in March as well that the Islamic State remains a threat and that it is â€œgrowing in other parts of the worldâ€ besides Syria and Iraq.
NEW: John Bolton responds to CENTCOM commander Gen. Votel saying the fight against ISIS is "far from over" after Trump said "100 percent" of ISIS was defeated: "(Trump) has never said that the elimination of the territorial caliphate means the end of ISIS" https://t.co/2HNDlHWIkE pic.twitter.com/v1sexsnqV3
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 10, 2019
“The president has been, I think, as clear as clear can be, when he talks about the defeat of the ISIS territorial caliphate,â€ Bolton told ABC News. â€œHe has never said that the elimination of the territorial caliphate means the end of ISIS in total. We know thatâ€™s not the case.â€
He noted further that Islamic State fighters are â€œscattered still around Syria and Iraq, and that ISIS itself is growing in other parts of the world. The ISIS threat will remain.â€
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
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