The group of five alleged anarchists who authorities say plotted to blow up a bridge outside of Cleveland in commemoration of the Occupy “May Day” protests switched their plans several times and were suspicious that the undercover agent who sold them fake explosives was, in fact, a cop.
The FBI arrested 26-year-old Douglas L. Wright, 20-year-old Brandon L. Baxter, 35-year-old Anthony Hayne, 20-year-old Connor C. Stevens and 23-year-old Joshua S. Stafford this week for allegedly plotting to use C-4 explosives on the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge in Ohio.The FBI affidavit in support of the arrests makes multiple references to “one percenters” “corporations” and the “May 1st” protests associated with the Occupy movement.
The confidential source who brought the suspects to the FBI’s attention had been working with federal agents since July 2011. The source has a conviction for possession of cocaine in 1990 and a robbery conviction in 1991 as well as four convictions for passing bad checks between 1991 and 2011. The source was paid about $5,750 for his services.
The confidential source attended an Oct. 21 protest and “identified four suspicious males with walkie-talkie radios around their necks,” three of four of whom had masks covering their faces. While the exact protest isn’t specified, Occupy Cleveland held a protest that same weekend.
“The men were wearing black or dark colored shirts, had black backpacks, carried anarchist flags and acted differently than the other people in attendance,” according to the FBI affidavit. They were soon joined by three other men and “appeared to be together and was constantly moving throughout the crowd expressing displeasure at the crowd’s unwillingness to act violently.”
When an organizer of the protest said they wanted to act peacefully, one of the men said “fuck that” and the whole group walked away, according to the FBI.
After exchanging a few emails with the FBI’s cooperating source, Wright explained to the cooperating source that the group had been discussing plans “involving violence and destruction in a variety of ways in order to send a message to corporations and the United States government.” In February, the source picked Wright up at a Walgreens and they went to breakfast at a Cleveland restaurant. Wright said that other members of the group were “unsure” about the cooperating source and Wright was annoyed “because he had already vouched” for the source.
Soon the plot began to evolve. Someone suggested taking out mines or oil wells, Wright said they would attack the Federal Reserve Bank. They later discussed attacking the Fusion Center in Ohio, but eventually settled on the bridge plot.
The group was suspicious of the undercover officer who would sell the C-4 to them and the cooperating informant. Baxter said he thought that they would go to Guantanamo Bay if they get caught.
All five were arrested Monday night, but only Wright, Baxter and Hayne had been charged so far. Charges against Stevens and Stafford are pending.