The U.S. Justice Department reports that five men were arrested on Monday in a plot to blow up a bridge outside Cleveland, Ohio. The Justice Department says the men describe themselves as anarchists and have no links with international terrorism.
The men were taken into custody in an undercover operation. According to CBS News, Douglas L. Wright, 26; Brandon L. Baxter, 20; Anthony Hayne, 35; Connor C. Stevens, 20; and Joshua S. Stafford, 23, were arrested by men of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force Monday night on charges of conspiracy and attempt to use explosives to damage a public structure.
The FBI say the public was never in danger because the explosives the men procured were inoperable. According to the FBI, the men considered several targets in the Cleveland metropolitan area, and the Route 82, Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge, was finally selected as target.
Huffington Post reports that the bridge carries a four-lane highway over part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in the Brecksville area, about 15 miles south of downtown Cleveland.
Huffington Post reports that Baxter, Wright and Hayne initially considered use of smoke grenades to distract law enforcement while the co-conspirators bring down financial institution signs atop high rise buildings in downtown Cleveland. The FBI in a statement, said: "The plot later developed to the utilization of explosive materials. The defendants conspired to obtain C-4 explosives contained in two improvised explosive devices to be placed and remotely detonated."
FBI filed criminal complaint in the U.S. District Court, Cleveland. U.S. Attorney Dettelbachh said: “The complaint in this case alleges that the defendants took specific and defined actions to further a terrorist plot. The defendants stand charged based not upon any words or beliefs they might espouse, but based upon their own plans and actions.”
FBI Special Agent Stephen D. Anthony, said: "The individuals charged in this plot were intent on using violence to express their ideological views. The Joint Terrorism Task Force will continue to be vigilant in its efforts to detect and disrupt any terrorism threat, domestic or international."
Special Agent Anthony added: “The safety of the citizens of the Northern District of Ohio is and continues to be our primary focus. "
CBS News reports the five defendants will appear today before a federal magistrate in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.