5 arrested in alleged plot to blow up Cleveland-area bridge
The FBI released these images of the defendants Tuesday morning.
May 1st, 2012
10:18 AM ET

5 arrested in alleged plot to blow up Cleveland-area bridge

[Updated at 12:06 p.m. ET] Five men have been arrested on suspicion of trying to use what they thought were explosives to destroy a bridge near Cleveland, Ohio, the FBI said Tuesday morning.

Some of the men on Monday planted what they thought were two remotely activated C-4-based explosive devices - which they allegedly bought from an undercover FBI employee - at the base of  a Route 82 bridge that crosses from Brecksville to Sagamore Hills over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the FBI said in a news conference Tuesday.

The devices actually were inoperable and posed no threat to the public, and the FBI arrested the men shortly after the devices were planted, authorities said.

Douglas L. Wright, 26; Brandon L. Baxter, 20; and Anthony Hayne, 35, were arrested by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force on Monday evening on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce, the FBI said.

Also arrested were Connor C. Stevens, 20; and Joshua S. Stafford, 23. Their charges were pending.

Three of the men are self-proclaimed anarchists, the FBI said in a news release.

"The public was never in danger from explosive devices," the FBI said.

The group initially planned to "topple financial institution signs atop high rise buildings in downtown Cleveland" while co-conspirators used smoke grenades to distract law enforcement, according to the FBI. But the plot evolved into plans for using explosive to destroy bridges or other targets, and the group finally decided on the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge, which carries Route 82 over the national park, the FBI said.

Some of the defendants, after they planted the devices, intended to detonate them from a remote location that they believed was safe and could provide them with an alibi, authorities said at Tuesday's news conference.

The FBI learned of the plots through a confidential source who met Wright at a Cleveland-area protest event in November, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. district court. Wright told the source that Wright and a group of anarchists "had been discussing plans involving violence and destruction to physical property ... to send a message to corporations and the United States government," the complaint reads.

“The complaint in this case alleges that the defendants took specific and defined actions to further a terrorist plot,” U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach said in the news release. “The defendants stand charged based not upon any words or beliefs they might espouse, but based upon their own plans and actions.”

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soundoff (564 Responses)
  1. Chalie

    Al-White-a

    May 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. americansarelost

    i cannot tell you how much i hate that americans don't want to shut their big mouths up and live decently and honestly both here and abroad.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Sterling

      Or how bad at being a troll non-Americans are....

      May 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Donbo

    I'm glad someone tipped off the FBI so they could set these guys up. Blowing something up doesn't send a message to corporations and the govt. It just sends a message to the judge, jury and prison guards. Enjoy yourselves fellas. I'm going to grab a bite to eat.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cameron

    Can we now please start profiling white christians at the airports?

    May 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mexoplex

    Where are all White Power Trolls now? This dont count i guess! i wonder who is going to defend THEM? i wonder if white people will be profiled now? no? why not? surely they werent going to blow up the bridge with just minorities driving across? Play the race card too- i dare ya. WAKE UP!

    May 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Shmid

      yup, there are white idiots too, but lets be honest here, you play that race card everyday in conversions with your friends, just like the jerks that post here every-time a black person does something wrong. It's a shame, but thats how it is.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dave - Phx

    Republicans, so full of hate.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hasai

      "The FBI learned of the plots through a confidential source who met Wright at a Cleveland-area protest event in November...."

      *looks at calendar* More like OWS, tool.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Orwell

    seriously the people who actually read the article and questioned the fbi's move in this story get their comments censored? meanwhile right wing idiots(not that their arent left ones but theyre just not speaking out) who didnt even read the article talk of execution and racism and nothing happens. with this kind of government and media its really a mystery why more of this anarchist crime doesnt occur

    May 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • twirtzy

      What reason do you have to question the FBI? They acted upon a tip that was received by a concerned citizen. Should the FBI start ignoring such tips?

      May 1, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Sterling

      There is a common scuzziness to them all. They look like they were straight out of Occuppy. Surprise, Surprise. But remember the TEA party are the bad, evil people...

      May 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sosofresh

    By the looks of these gentlemen, I'd offer the following theory: Their original plan was to blow up the bridge using a poorly monitored meth lab, strategically-placed at the base of the bridge. I'm sure they've each witnessed at least one garage get leveled this way. Seriously though, check out the guy on the far-left... I wonder how he got mixed up in this bunch? He looks legit.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rich

    There's a lot more of this coming. People are disgusted with this country and with good reason. Are you watching the politics of this election? Romney and Obama, bought and paid for. There's still no jobs, no prospects for high school and 4 yr college graduates. Nothing right is going on inside the US. These 5 look like goons, but I bet they aren't as stupid as they look.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlie

      No Rich, I suspect they are as stupid as they look. But, your frustration with the US is well taken. However, voting for Democrats will make things worse and voting for the GOP will make things much worse. Things will not get better no matter what. The US is on course to be the economic equal of Mexico and Brazil. In fact, that's the goal of long-range US foreign policy; ie, we make everyone else's economy rise at our expense to promote equality among nations. We are getting poorer while everyone else gets richer. There will be fewer and fewer jobs in the US due to globaliization and improved efficiency. Full employment is no longer possible. Our economy needs to adjust to the new reality. I don't have the answers, but I'm pretty sure blowing things up is not one of them.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Andre burns

    If these men were black every other comment would include some kind of racism or racist stereotype in it.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlie

      Andre, there are a lot of "stupid-trailor-trash" remarks. It's kinda the same.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Leave the GOP out of this. Buying faux C4 with remote detonators from undercover FBI agents? Smells more like entrapment to me. So now the FBI is now doing work supposed to be done by the ATF?
    So why isn't the ATF looking to shut down Suzie homemaker with hombrew recipies for the things to make C4 with, or perhaps making "liquid stuff" from anhydrous hydrazine?
    We must have "stupid" written on our foreheads.
    Come on people. If you know how to form a rue for chicken gravey. Then think of adding a little advanced chemistry and a crooked heart.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    Gee I wonder what kind of protest they were at in November?? Maybe an OCCUPY protest?

    May 1, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joe L

    It's Labron's fault!!

    May 1, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rosa Birmingham, AL

    Anarchists! must be members of the anti government tea party movement. If you don't get it, look it up in the dictionary.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John

    Democrats are the problem. That is why they were voted out last election and will be voted out AGAIN. Brandon Baxter of Lakewood said he had no regrets for making sure people heard the message. “I took the risk of getting arrested because I feel the powers that be, whoever they might be — on all levels of government and those who hold corporate power — are not listening because not enough people are actually taking a stance” against foreclosures, he said. “I was hoping that this would be a great way to get Cleveland more involved by showing the potential that a small group of dedicated people can have in making an impact. Even though we are not in any government position or in Congress, we do have the power.”

    May 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
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