Law enforcement arrested a neo-Nazi leader and a woman who allegedly planned a “racially motivated” assault on Baltimore-area power substations, per authorities.
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The FBI captured two people, one a nationally known neo-Nazi leader, before they could launch an attack on Baltimore’s power grid that had the potential to “completely destroy this whole city,” authorities said Monday.
The suspects, Brandon Russell and Sarah Clendaniel, were taken into custody last week, in Florida and Maryland, respectively, officials said.
Federal authorities described the alleged plot as “racially or ethnically motivated.” More than 61% of Baltimore residents are Black.
Russell, 27, is a founder of the Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi group bent on “ushering in the collapse of civilization,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group admires Charles Manson and supports “the idea of lone wolf violence,” according to the Anti-Defamation League.
The alleged plot was first flagged in June of last year after an FBI informant claimed to have been contacted by Russell, who wanted “to attack electrical substations and has provided guidance on how to cause maximum damage,” according to the criminal complaint filed against the pair.
Russell then connected the informant with Clendaniel, a Maryland resident, to hash out plans for an attack on stations in and around Baltimore, federal authorities said.
The pair and informant worked with urgency, as Clendaniel said she was terminally ill with a kidney ailment “and was unlikely to live more than a few months,” according to the criminal complaint.
Clendaniel, 34, had five stations in her crosshairs, officials said, in Norrisville, Reisterstown, and Perry Hall, Maryland, and two more “in the vicinity of Baltimore,” the complaint said.
Attacks on all five would be a ” ‘ring’ around Baltimore and if they hit a number of them all in the same day, they ‘would completely destroy this whole city,’ ” Clendaniel allegedly said in a recorded conversation, the complaint revealed.
Thomas J. Sobocinski, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore office, said the suspects were serious in their efforts aimed at paralyzing the city of 580,000.
“The accused were not just talking, but taking steps to fulfill their threats and further their extremist goals. Russell provided instructions and location information. He described attacking the power transformers as the greatest thing somebody can do,” Sobocinski told reporters in Baltimore.
“Their actions threatened the electricity and heat of our homes, hospitals and businesses.”
Russell came on the FBI’s radar in 2018 when his Muslim roommate killed two other roommates who had taunted him about his faith, according to the complaint.
The murder probe in Tampa, Florida, uncovered Russell’s connection to the the Atomwaffen, federal authorities said. The suspect allegedly told investigators that Russell had been hatching plans to attack Florida power stations.
Russell was arrested and ultimately convicted of possession of an unregistered destructive device.
It wasn’t immediately clear Monday afternoon if Russell and Clendaniel had hired or been assigned criminal defense attorneys who could speak on their behalf.
Clendaniel and Russell were set to make their initial appearances before federal magistrates in Baltimore and Orlando, respectively, on Monday afternoon.
Erek L. Barron, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, thanked local and state law enforcement agencies for their collaboration in making these arrests.
“Together we are using every legal means necessary to keep Marylanders safe and to dispute hate-fueled violence,” Barron said.
Attacks on the nation’s power grid came into focus in December, following two high-profile incidents.
There were shootings at two electrical substations in central North Carolina in early December, officials said. At the peak of Duke Energy outages, more than 45,000 homes and businesses were in the dark.
That incident was followed by attacks at four electricity substations on Christmas weekend near Tacoma, Washington, as about 14,000 homes and businesses were forced to do without power, officials said.
2 CommentsLeave a Reply
So this is what America has come to expect anything at this point! SMH
Any story that uses splc or adl is not egitimate news, a quick search of either of these scams shows they are corrupt and not anything but biased racist organizations..