Published November 21, 2015
Five people described as anarchists were arrested Monday in a Cleveland-area park for allegedly trying to blow up a bridge, sources tell Fox News.
The public was never in danger from the explosive devices, which were inoperable and controlled by an undercover FBI employee, according to sources close to the investigation.
A criminal complaint was filed Tuesday morning in U.S. District Court in Cleveland. Court documents say three of the suspects are self-proclaimed anarchists who formed a small group and considered a series of plots over several months.
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Steven M. Dettelbach, said Tuesday that the defendants "took numerous and repeated acts that demonstrated a commitment to violent, terrorist acts."
According to the complaint, the suspects initially planned to use smoke grenades to distract law enforcement so that they could topple financial institution signs atop high-rise buildings in Cleveland. However, the plot later called for C-4 explosives contained in two improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, to be placed and remotely detonated, according to authorities.
The final plan allegedly named the Route 82 Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge, which crosses from Brecksville to Sagamore Hills, as the designated target. The IED drop location was reportedly under the bridge on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail near the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Brecksville Station.
The suspects were identified Tuesday as Brandon Baxter, 20; Anthony Hayne, 35; Joshua Stafford, 23; Connor Stevens, 20; and Douglas Wright, 26, Fox affiliate WJW-TV reported.
Baxter, Hayne and Wright were arrested Monday night by members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce, according to the station.
"The safety of the citizens of the Northern District of Ohio is and continues to be our primary focus," Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland Division of the FBI, said in a statement Tuesday.
"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," Anthony said.
It is unknown if the bridge incident was connected to Occupy Wall Street's plans for nationwide protests Tuesday.
Fox News' Mike Levine contributed to this report.