By Jim Kouri
In a case that was overshadowed by Tuesday’s conviction of al-Qaeda member Adis Medunjanin who plotted with others to bomb the New York City subway system and other targets, five men allegedly connected to the Occupy Movement were arrested and accused of conspiring to use explosives to destroy a bridge near Cleveland, according to a federal law enforcement official.
Anthony Hayne, 35, Douglas L. Wright, 26; and Brandon L. Baxter, 20, were arrested by members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force on Monday evening (April 30, 2012), on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to adversely effect interstate commerce.
In addition on Monday, JTTF members arrested Connor C. Stevens, 20, and Joshua S. Stafford, 23, and criminal charges are pending against them.
According to the Public Safety Examiner federal source, residents and those traveling on the targeted bridge were never in any danger from the explosive devices. The explosives that the suspects purchased and attempted to use were inoperable.
According to the criminal complaint, Wright, Baxter, and Hayne are self-described anarchists who formed a small radical group and brainstormed a terrorist plots during a period of several months. They are also allegedly part of the “Occupy Movement,” according to more than one law enforcement officer.
One initial plot involved the use of non-lethal smoke grenades for use as a diversion for law enforcement officers in order for the co-conspirators to topple financial institution signs atop high-rise buildings in downtown Cleveland, according to the criminal complaint.
The plot later developed to the utilization of actual improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The defendants conspired to obtain C-4 explosives contained in two IEDs to be placed and remotely detonated, according to the complaint.
The defendants discussed various bridges and physical targets in and around the Cleveland metropolitan area over the course of several months. The final plan called for the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge to be the target for the at least one of the IEDs. The targeted bridge crosses from Brecksville, Ohio to Sagamore Hills, Ohio over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, according to the complaint.
“The complaint in this case alleges that the defendants took specific and defined actions to further a terrorist plot,” said U.S. Attorney William Dettelbach. “The defendants stand charged based not upon any words or beliefs they might espouse, but based upon their own plans and actions.”