The U.S. Justice Department charged a neo-Nazi leader Brandon Russell and his girlfriend, Sarah Clendaniel with plotting to attack a power station in Baltimore, Maryland, officials said on Monday.
Founder of a neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division Brandon Russell from Florida was arrested last week together with his associate Sarah Clendaniel from Maryland. According to the indictment, Atomwaffen is a “violent extremist group” that targeted racial minorities, the Jewish community and the LGBTQ community, as well as government and critical infrastructure.
NGO StopAntisemitism shared images of Brandon Russell and his accomplice, Sarah Clendaniel, and detailed their previous criminal activities and arrests.
Russell and Clendaniel have been charged with conspiring to damage an energy facility in Baltimore. The plan was thwarted by the FBI that cooperated with a confidential informant.
“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,” said Erek Barron, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland.
Russell is a convicted felon and was on supervised release when he was arrested. He was previously sentenced to five years in prison for possessing bomb-making materials. He came under suspicion in 2017 following the arrest of his former roommate Devon Arthurs who told the FBI that Russell was plotting to attack power lines in Florida and other critical infrastructure.
Last summer the FBI informant started receiving messages from Russell and Clendaniel, who also has conviction for armed robbery, about their plan to attack energy facilities. According to the FBI, Russell guided Clendaniel to acquire a gun and to attack five electrical substations around Baltimore, Maryland.
“Sara Beth Clendaniel and Brandon Russell conspired to inflict maximum harm on the power grid, a key component of our critical infrastructure,” said Thomas Sobocinski, a special agent of the FBI Baltimore field office.
“Russell provided instructions and location information. He described attacking the power transformers as the greatest thing somebody can do,” he added.