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FBI Announces Arrests in Alleged Extremist Plot to Attack Power Grid

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Law enforcement arrested a neo-Nazi leader and a woman who allegedly planned a “racially motivated” assault on Baltimore-area power substations, authorities announced Monday.

Brandon Russell and Sarah Clendaniel’s arrests happened in Maryland and Florida, FBI Special Agent In-Charge Thomas Sobocinski said in a news conference.

The two “conspired and took steps to shoot” multiple Baltimore-area electrical substations in order to “completely destroy the whole city,” Maryland U.S. Attorney Erek Barron said.

“These plans were stopped thanks to the swift action and collaboration of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners. Together, we are using every legal means necessary to keep Marylanders safe and to disrupt hate-fueled violence,” Barron said.

Russell reportedly started the Atomwaffen Division Neo-Nazi group and pleaded guilty to possession of an unregistered destructive device, receiving a 60-month prison sentence and three years of supervised release in 2018, according to the Feb. 2 criminal complaint against him and Clendaniel.

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Russell gave instructions and location information, describing attacking the power transformers as “the greatest thing somebody could do,” while Clendaniel said she was “determined to do this,” Sobocinski said.

Two men were separately charged in January with attacking four Pierce County, Washington, power substations, allegedly causing more than $3 million in estimated damages to the facilities and taking away power from thousands of people on Christmas Day in what they said was part of a burglary scheme.

Gunfire at two Moore County, North Carolina, substations knocked out some 40,000 people’s electricity in early December, NPR reported, only for vandals to allegedly attack a different Randolph County substation in mid-January.

Should more attending be paid to the security of our nation’s power grid?

Sobocinski said the FBI had no indication that Russell and Clendaniel’s alleged plot was connected to such attacks elsewhere.

A representative for Barron’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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