Thanks to an FBI sting, the Brecksville-Northville High Level Bridge, which crosses the Cuyahoga Valley National Park 15 miles outside of Cleveland, was never in any danger.
The four-lane bridge was a target of a minor-league anarchist group that was planning on using plastic explosives for two bombs strapped to support columns. Douglas Wright, Brandon Baxter, Connor Stevens, Joshua Stafford and Anthony Hayne were arrested on April 30. Authorities believe they were never a threat because the explosives they acquired were duds and under the control of an undercover federal agent.
“The defendants stand charged based not upon any words or beliefs they might espouse, but based upon their own plans and actions,” U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said in a statement.
The FBI was first tipped off to the group in 2011, which triggered the sting operation involving an undercover agent. Four of the men were then observed at a protest “expressing displeasure at the crowd’s unwillingness to act violently.”
In the plot to take down the Brecksville-Northville High Level Bridge, the group purchased the explosives for $900 and also bought riot gear.