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Bomb Plot ‘Anarchists’ Formally Charged

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CLEVELAND -- The five self-described "anarchists" allegedly behind a plot to blow up a Cleveland-area bridge were all indicted on Thursday, Fox 8 News reports.

Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, explained that all five men face identical charges -- one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction to destroy property used in interstate commerce, one count of conspiracy to use of a weapon of mass destruction to destroy property used in interstate commerce and one count of attempted use of an explosive device to damage or destroy real property used in interstate commerce.

The three-count indictment filed on Thursday alleges wrongdoing by the following individuals: Douglas L. Wright, 26, of Indianapolis; Brandon L. Baxter, 20, of Lakewood, Ohio; Anthony Hayne, 35, of Cleveland; Connor C. Stevens, 20, of Berea, Ohio, and Joshua S. Stafford, of Cleveland.

The five men, according to the indictment, conspired between Feb. 20 and April 30 of this year to use two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) containing C-4 plastic explosives on the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge.

 
"The indictment in this case alleges that the defendants took specific and defined actions to further a terrorist plot," Dettelbach said. "The defendants stand charged based not upon any words or beliefs they might espouse, but based upon their own plans and actions."

"The safety of the citizens of the Northern District of Ohio is and continues to be our primary focus. The individuals charged in this plot were intent on using violence to express their ideological views," Anthony added. "The Joint Terrorism Task Force will continue to be vigilant in its efforts to detect and disrupt any terrorism threat, domestic or international."

The maximum penalty on the first two counts is life in prison. The third count has a mandatory minimum of five years behind bars with a max of 20 years.

The case, which had been investigated by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Duncan Brown.

Dettelbach and Anthony stress that an indictment is merely an accusation, and that all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.