US Arrests 5 in Plot to Bomb Ohio Bridge

Posted May 1st, 2012 at 12:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Five men have been arrested by federal authorities for allegedly plotting to blow up a bridge near the city of Cleveland, Ohio.

Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Cleveland division, Stephen Anthony, says the five were taken into custody late Monday, after they attempted to remotely detonate devices they bought from undercover FBI agents.

“The individuals explored the illegal purchase of explosives, as well as the concept of using precursor chemicals and Internet knowledge to make homemade explosives. They ultimately negotiated with FBI undercover agents and purchased two inert, I say inert, improvised explosive devices, IEDs, which were presented as C-4-based remote-activated IEDs.”

A criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Cleveland identifies three of the suspects as “self-proclaimed anarchists.” Authorities say the men had considered a series of evolving plots over several months.

The complaint says the initial plot involved using smoke grenades to distract law enforcement so that the suspects could topple financial institution signs on top of buildings in downtown Cleveland. Later, the plot reportedly grew to include remotely detonating C-4 explosives. The final plan identified a bridge near Cleveland as the target.

Authorities say the plot is not connected to the one-year anniversary of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's death.


Steven Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio:

“I want to begin again by stressing that despite the defendants' worst intentions and aims, that during the entire course of yesterday's operation, the public was never in any danger. The defendants never possessed at any time any real explosive material. And their arrest warrants were signed before they got in the car to head to the bridge.”

Stephen Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland Division of the FBI:

“Threats of violent terrorism motivated by ideological or political views are unacceptable and will be investigated to the fullest as evidenced by this investigation that we're talking to you about today. The FBI's number one priority is to keep the public safe from all known threats, while ensuring the integrity of civil liberties and constitutional rights.”

“This investigation demonstrates the commitment and underscores the importance of differentiating between lawful, peaceful exercise of First Amendment rights and the violent criminal conspiring of a few select individuals who choose to do harm to our community and our nation.”