Feb 6, 2023 - Politics & Policy

DOJ charges 2 over alleged "racially motivated" plot to attack power stations

The seal of the FBI.

Photo: Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday charged two people over an alleged plot to attack multiple energy facilities in the Baltimore, Maryland, area.

Driving the news: Sarah Beth Clendaniel of Catonsville, Maryland, and Brandon Clint Russell of Orlando, Florida, were arrested for conspiring to attack multiple electrical substations aiming to "completely destroy" Baltimore, the DOJ said in a press conference.

  • Russell founded the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen, which has attempted to use violent attacks to set off a race war in the U.S., according to the Washington Post.
  • The DOJ and FBI believe their extremist views and planned actions were "racially or ethnically motivated."

What they're saying: "These plans were stopped thanks to the swift action and collaboration of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners," Erek Barron, U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland, said Monday.

  • Thomas Sobocinski, a top FBI official, said at the press conference Russell allegedly provided instructions and location information related to the planned attack on the energy facilities, describing it "the greatest thing somebody can do."
  • Sobocinski said Clendaniel allegedly said she was "determined" to carry out the attacks, saying, "It would lay this city to waste."

The big picture: The arrests come after a series of other attacks on power infrastructure servicing other towns around the country.

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