Plans of suspected white supremacists were foiled as they were arrested on federal charges of attacking a power grid, with the hopes of destroying the city of Baltimore.
The U.S. Department of Justice announces Sarah Clendaniel of Catonsville, Maryland, and Brandon Russell of Orlando, Florida, believe in racist ideology and “conspired to inflict maximum harm” to the grid in hopes of crippling the city of Baltimore, impacting hospitals, homes and more.
Russell is the founder of neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen and was recently released from prison for possession of explosives. Clendaniel spoke to an FBI informant, revealing their attack “would lay this city to waste.”
“Their actions threatened the electricity and heat of our homes, hospitals and businesses,” said Thomas Sobocinski, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore field office. “The FBI believes this was a real threat.”
According to ABC News, the two thought carrying out the attack would provide a bigger spotlight to their views. Once Russell was released from prison he began speaking with the FBI informant in June 2022.
The charges follow a string of attacks on energy substations around the country, including one in North Carolina in December that left 45,000 utility customers without power for days and forced local officials to declare a state of emergency.