Two neo-Nazi leaders charged for conspiring to attack power grid

The FBI intercepted the neo-Nazi leader’s conspiracy to strike Baltimore’s power grid with the aid of a confidential informant, according to charges filed by the U.S. Justice Department against him and an associate, Reuters reports.

According to information provided at a press briefing on Monday, Maryland resident Sarah Clendaniel and Orlando, Florida, resident Brandon Russell were both detained last week and have been accused of conspiring to destroy a power plant.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization that keeps tabs on hate organizations in the U.S., Russell is a convicted criminal and the leader of the Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi organization that aims to “usher in the breakdown of society.”

In the past, Russell received a five-year jail term after pleading guilty to charges of possession of an unregistered destruction weapon and improperly storing explosive materials.

The FBI said that he was still under supervised release at the time of his detention.

The FBI said the power grid attack scheme was racially motivated on Monday, but would not elaborate. Black people make up around 62% of Baltimore City’s population, per the U.S. Census.

“Clendaniel and Russell conspired and took steps to shoot multiple electrical substations in the Baltimore area aiming to ‘completely destroy this whole city’, but these plans were stopped,” Erek Barron, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, said in the press briefing.

When Devon Arthurs, a former roommate of Russell’s, was detained on suspicion of murder in 2017, Russell initially came under suspicion.

Arthurs said, in an FBI interview, that his fellow roommates were preparing to strike Florida power lines and other critical infrastructure.

Russell was apprehended and subsequently found guilty thanks to the information.

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