FBI says men planned to blow up Ohio bridge

BRECKSVILLE, OH (WOIO) - The FBI announced charges for five people arrested in connection with a plot to blow up a bridge near Cleveland.

The men were identified as Douglas L. Wright, 26; Brandon L. Baxter, 20; Anthony Hayne, 35; Connor C. Stevens, 20; and Joshua S. Stafford, 23.

Members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested the men Monday night and charged them with conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce.

"The initial plot involved the use of smoke grenades to distract law enforcement in order for the co-conspirators to topple financial institution signs atop high rise buildings in downtown Cleveland," according to the complaint.

Officials said that the plot was not connected to any foreign terrorist group. Investigators ran a sting operation for several months before making the arrests.

The FBI described at least three men in group as "self-proclaimed anarchists" who used violence to promote their ideals.

They are scheduled to appear in federal court today in Cleveland.

Authorities said the selected target was the Route 82 Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge. The bridge crosses over Cuyahoga Valley National Park from Brecksville to Sagamore Hills.

The group planned to use C-4, a military grade explosive, place it into homemade devices and detonate the devices remotely.

FBI made the arrests on Monday night after the men placed what they thought were explosives at base of bridge, and then tried to detonate.

The FBI said that the public was not in danger at any point during the investigation.

The explosives the five men planned to use in the operation were "inoperable and posed no threat to the public," according to a release from the FBI.

Read the entire FBI affidavit HERE