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Second Zion man charged in conspiring to assist ISIS sentenced to 13 years in prison

Joseph D. Jones (left) and Edward Schimenti (center) pose in an undated photo with an Islamic State flag behind them. | Photo via U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Illinois.

A second Zion man who held an ISIS flag at the Illinois Beach State Park in Zion and conspired to assist ISIS for several years was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Edward Schimenti, 39, of Zion, was sentenced on Friday by U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood.

Schimenti was also charged with co-defendant Joseph D. Jones, 38, of Zion, who was sentenced in early March to 12 years in prison.

Schimenti and Jones were both found guilty by a jury in 2019 on one count of conspiring to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, a foreign terrorist organization also known as ISIS.

Jones and Schimenti, both U.S. citizens, pledged their allegiance to ISIS and advocated on social media for violent extremism in support of the terrorist group, according to evidence at trial.

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The pair befriended three individuals in 2015 whom Jones and Schimenti believed were fellow ISIS devotees.

Unbeknownst to Jones and Schimenti, two of the individuals were undercover FBI employees and the third individual was cooperating with law enforcement and was not an ISIS supporter.

Over the next several months, as part of the conspiracy, Jones and Schimenti allegedly took steps to assist the cooperating source with plans to travel overseas to join ISIS, prosecutors said.

Joseph D. Jones (left) and Edward Schimenti (right) pose in an undated photo with an Islamic State flag at the Illinois Beach State Park. | Photo via U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Illinois.

Jones and Schimenti met the undercover FBI employees and the cooperating source on numerous occasions during which the pair discussed their devotion and commitment to ISIS, according to a criminal complaint.

Some of the meetings took place in Waukegan, Zion, Bridgeview, North Chicago, Highland Park and Chicago.

At one point, Jones and Schimenti shared photographs of themselves holding the ISIS flag at the Illinois Beach State Park in Zion, according to the complaint.

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In a recorded conversation with the cooperating source, Schimenti said he would like to see the ISIS flag “on top of the White House,” the complaint said.

Schimenti engaged in physical training exercises in 2017 with the cooperating source at a gym in Zion, the complaint said. Understanding that the cooperating source intended to travel overseas to fight for ISIS, Schimenti commented that the exercises would “make you good, you know, in the battlefield.”

Jones and Schimenti furnished several cellular phones to the cooperating source, believing they would be used to detonate explosive devices in ISIS attacks overseas.

Jones and Schimenti drove the cooperating source on April 7, 2017, to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago with the understanding that the source would be traveling to Syria to join and fight with ISIS.

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Schimenti told the source to “drench that land with they, they blood,” the complaint said.

Schimenti was convicted of the conspiracy charge as well as a charge of making false statements to the FBI.

The case was investigated by the Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is comprised of numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.