FBI agents arrested five members of an anarchist group Monday who planned to bomb an Ohio bridge and had identified other targets including a justice center, fusion center, second bridge, Federal Reserve Bank, and Ku Klux Klan location.
The men were arrested by the FBI's Joint Terrorist Task Force. An undercover informant had infiltrated the group, according to the FBI.
"The individuals charged in this plot were intent on using violence to express their ideological views," said Stephen Anthony, the FBI's special agent in charge in Cleveland. "The Joint Terrorism Task Force will continue to be vigilant in its efforts to detect and disrupt any terrorism threat, domestic or international."
Douglas Wright, 26; Brandon Baxter, 20; and Anthony Hayne, 35, have been charged with conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce. Charges are pending against Connor Stevens, 20, and Joshua Stafford, 23.
It's believed the suspects initially planned to use smoke grenades to distract law enforcement so they could topple financial institution signs atop high rise buildings in downtown Cleveland, according to the complaint.
The defendants are also charged with conspiring to place improvised explosive devices with C-4 explosives that would be remotely detonated.
The defendants discussed various bridges and physical targets around the Cleveland metropolitan area over several months, according to an affidavit, and they eventually picked the Route 82 Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge as the designated target. This bridge crosses from Brecksville to Sagamore Hills over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
According to an affidavit, the men also discussed bombing the Justice Center, Northeast Ohio Regional Fusion Center in Cuyahoga County, Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland, an Interstate 480 bridge known as the Valley View bridge, and an unidentified Ku Klux Klan location, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Wright, Baxter, Hayne, Stevens, and Stafford appear today before a federal magistrate in U.S. District court in Cleveland.