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.”

soundoff (564 Responses)
  1. Mark

    Wow! I live in Brecksville and hike near that bridge every warm day. I drive over it at least once a week. It is very tall and any cars on it would have been crush falling that far. The bridge, do to its height, has been used for suicides too. It is over a very popular park and there is a path that runs under it that many people bike and hike on everyday. This would have beeb a disaster of monumental proportions. THANKS YOU FBI!

    May 1, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. James

    I bet i can guess the 3 anarchists . . . the three that look crazy

    May 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JohnnyInSNJ

    “The defendants stand charged based not upon any words or beliefs they might espouse, but based upon their own plans and actions.” -

    That's how they get away without charging White American's with Terrorism. You see, if you slap that tag on early, it's like using Stand Your Ground.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kyle

    So, when americans are violently opposed to our government, they are anarchists. When middle eastern people are violently opposed to our government they are radicalized muslim terrorists. Someone should write a book, what to call the person trying to kill you.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hasai

      *I* call them a pack of idiot children.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • twirtzy

      Your confusion seems to be that Anarchists can't be terrorists. They are still terrorists. Anarchy is just their motivation. Just like religion is a motivation to other terrorists.

      May 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • kyle

      See then you would need to show that their actions are religiously motivated, since they are attacking the pentagon and trade towers and not....mosques and churches...seems like religion is not their motivation.

      May 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lost&Confused

    WHAT?!?!?!?! Those don't sound like muslim names. HUH!

    May 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. lindaboroff

    Sounds like theybecame enamoured of the old Anarchism of the early 20th century - the "propaganda of the deed" of Johann Most, Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, et al. The Anarchist movement (as opposed to "anarchy" which it was not) has always had a romantic attraction for the young, foolishly idealistic and inexperienced. Most of their acts were botched and poorly planned, but they always had the potential to do real harm. The movement had some advanced ideals but the struggling masses had to wait for decent wages and working conditions untl later in the century. Americans vilified the Anarchists then as much as they appear to be doing on these boards; they feared that European immigrants would import violent revolution and tear apart the capitalistic system. Given the consequences of the Russian Revolution and the Sarajevo assassination, who wouldn't be afraid? These young men were fools, and now they will pay the price. They are different from terrorists of the right like Tim McVeigh, in ideals if not in tactics.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      "Sounds like theybecame enamoured of the old Anarchism of the early 20th century" They are the spiritual heirs of George Metesky.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. reda ali

    Because these terrorits acts are perpetrated by non-muslims, the nomencalture would be anything but terrorists. They are labeled as anarchists, white supremacists, miilitia men, anti-government and so on ., but usually portrayed as isolated cases that do not need lengthy media attention by FOX pundits, such as O'Reillly and Hannity.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bubba

    The crazy thing is the thing that's crazy about most acts of terrorism: even if they'd cracked the bridge, so what? "A bridge is out, let's all overthrow the government?" Did they expect women to swoon and throw themselves at their feet? Sure, it publicizes their loony-toons ideas, but that's just the signal for the mocking to begin.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bubba

    "There's no need to resort to derogatory racist slurs and stereotypical profiling, Dee."

    98% of his posts are derogatory racist slurs and stereotypical profiling. What would he talk about, the weather? He's just a troll.

    May 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • BeliTsari

      But, I thought Ron was a neo-Confederate, states-rights Theocrat? He'd be a heck of a good choice of a Libertarian leader; but then, I thought Somalia already had several dozen?

      May 1, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BeliTsari

    Just because these fellers is enamored of Ron Paul doesn't necessarily mean he personally promotes and sponsors agents provocateurs, to promote the agenda of foreign plutocrats and their domestic theocratic kleptocrat puppets. It might appear so at times mind you, but I for one will await further word from Miniluv or whomever?

    May 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      "these fellers is enamored of Ron Paul " Yep, they's some of them left-wing Libertarian Anarchists what the Republicans done inflicted upon us. I guess only Ron Paul can save us now.

      May 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. James Tramway

    I was pro Obama until this Occupy Wall Street craziness stirred up. They are like hippies on steroids, militant freeloaders who just want to take and destroy and have the worst work-ethic I have ever seen. At first the president, and others like Nancy Pelosi, embraced them, and they have never denounced them. This is the face of the left. It's like they want to be violent 1960s revolutionaries instead of getting jobs.

    May 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JK

    They met at a protest? You mean an OCCUPY protest don't you? If that had been a Tea Party meeting I think that would have been in the headline.

    May 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. nirmala

    Emotions are not exclusive to any religion; be it patriotism, hatred, love, ego, etc. etc. The sooner we understand it, the better it would be. The bullet and the gunman are only personifications of the hatred behind them; the same hatred which motivates the shooter to gun down his victim. A bully takes pride in his physical strength and he hates those who are better than him in other areas, in which he is no good. For instance, generally you will find a school bully deficient in studies. He therefore hates those who do well and his bullying is only a sign of his venting his hatred. Instead of trying to discipline him severely, which makes him only more stubborn, if his strength is diverted to sports or any other subject of his interest, such as gymnastics, soccer, etc. where he could show off his strength, he would not feel so much hatred towards others. His bullying may not only stop, but he may even protect others from being bullied!
    In the last several decades, we had bullied other nations enough and more because of our military might and created enough hatred in them which is being vented now by those whom we call terrorists. When our drone hits innocent civilians in the borders of Pakistan, they also call us terrorists; when our planes were pouring napalm on those helpless Vietnamese, they also called us terrorists; who knows, maybe these five 'white terrorists' are also venting their anger on the 'civilization' which probably could not provide them some means to take care of them well. When it happens in Chechnya, we call it 'awakening which will culminate in independence'; when it happens in the Middle East we call it 'liberation struggle' and when it happens in our backyard we call it 'mindless destruction'. If you do not like what you see, try seeing through the eyes of those who like it. You may see a different perspective or at least your hatred will not overwhelm you. nirmala@sify.com

    May 1, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mitchell

    This seems fishy, it's extremely easy to find, say, drug dealers. But to buy bombs from? And they just happened to be FBI? How did they originally meet and make contact with this agent?

    May 1, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rising Red

    Terrorists...I mean Anarchists. Sorry, I forgot they weren't white.

    May 1, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • January24

      OF COURSE they're white. For some reason the leftist movement, Occupy, has attracted mostly young white cretins.

      CNN is doing an admirable job of covering for Occupy - calling the event where the FBI first caught a whiff of these losers as a "political rally." Well, it WAS a "political rally." It was an OCCUPY rally.

      (If it had been a Tea Party rally, THAT would've been the headline.)

      May 2, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
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