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FBI arrests 5 in plot to blow up bridges

(Xinhua)

10:49, May 02, 2012

WASHINGTON, May 1 (Xinhua) -- The FBI has arrested five suspects connected to a plot to blow up a bridge in U.S. state of Ohio, according to local press reports on Tuesday.

A report from local TV station WKYC said the arrests are not connected to the one year anniversary of terrorist Osama bin Laden's death. Instead the suspects were described as anarchists who do not have ties to international terrorism.

According to the FBI, the suspects had plotted to blow up a bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and were arrested by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force on April 30 on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce.

The FBI has filed charges against three of the suspects, including Douglas Wright, 26, Brandon Baxter, 20, and Anthony Hayne, 35, who are self-proclaimed anarchists. Charges against two others, Connor Stevens, 20, and Joshua Stafford, 23, are pending.

The arrests came as part of an FBI sting, and federal officials say "There was never any danger."

The FBI said the explosive devices were in the control of an undercover FBI agent and that the five had been under close surveillance. The explosives the group allegedly purchased and allegedly attempted to use were inoperable.

The FBI says Wright, Baxter and Hayne formed into a group and considered a series of evolving plots over several months.

An initial plot involved using smoke grenades to distract police in order for co-conspirators to topple the signs of financial institutions on high rise buildings in downtown Cleveland. The plot later developed into the use of explosives.

According to the FBI, the group conspired to obtain C-4 contained in two improvised explosive devises to be detonated remotely.

The FBI said the group discussed a number of targets over several months, and the final plan targeted the Route 82 Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge. The bridge crosses from Brecksville to Sagamore Hills over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

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