The NATO summit (May 19-21) brought a wide variety of dignitaries, politicians and protesters to the city of Chicago, but it also allegedly brought serious terrorist threats, most of which suggested the use of explosives.
Three men were arrested last week when police raided a Chicago apartment in preparation for the weekend’s NATO summit, according to an article by the Associated Press.
The men were being held on terrorism conspiracy charges, accused of trying to make Molotov cocktails ahead of the summit.
Their attorney, Sarah Gelsomino, said the men are “absolutely in shock and have no idea where these charges are coming from,” AP reports.
They were scheduled to be in court on Saturday, May 19, for a bond hearing on charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism, possession of an explosive or incendiary device and providing material support for terrorism.
Two more men were arrested and charged with planning to make explosives to be used during the summit, according to coverage from the Chicago Tribune.
Prosecutors alleged that one of them made a terrorist threat by bragging that he had “a carful of explosives” capable of taking out half of a train overpass, the Tribune reports. He claimed last week that the incendiary device was hidden in a hollowed out “Harry Potter” book, but police did not find any explosives when the searched his Chicago home, court documents said.
Four of the men are being charged under the never-used anti-terrorism law that was instated post-9/11 in Illinois and has gone nearly untouched in the 11 years since, according to the Tribune.
“It is unusual. We recognize that,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s spokeswoman Sally Daly in the office’s first extended remarks on the unorthodox move. “The NATO summit coming to Chicago is also unusual. … We feel as if we are stepping up and accepting responsibility for crimes that have occurred in our jurisdiction.”
Prosecutors say that the two plots are not connected.