Five self-described anarchists have been arrested in a plot to blow up a bridge in Cleveland, Ohio, but the public was never in any danger, the FBI said Tuesday.
The anarchists spent months planning several different attacks but did not realize that they were being closely monitored and had purchased inoperable explosives from an undercover FBI agent.
“The individuals charged in this plot were intent on using violence to express their ideological views,” Stephen Anthony, special agent in charge of the Cleveland division of the FBI, said in a statement.
“The Joint Terrorism Task Force will continue to be vigilant in its efforts to detect and disrupt any terrorism threat, domestic or international.”
The FBI began to infiltrate the group at a protest in October after a confidential informant sent there noticed they were complaining that the rest of the people did not want to “act violently,” the criminal complaint stated.
In later meetings, the group of young men said they wanted to attack “corporate America and the financial system” and discussed how they could make sure people didn’t think their actions were “random acts” of violence, the charging paper said.
They initially plotted to distract the police with smoke grenades while knocking signs off bank buildings, but decided there weren’t enough people in Cleveland willing to participate in a riot.
They eventually settled on the plot to blow up a bridge that spans the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Douglas Wright, 26, Brandon Baxter, 20, and Anthony Hayne, 35, were arrested Monday evening on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce. Also arrested were Connor Stevens, 20, and Joshua Stafford, 23.