WASHINGTON/CLEVELAND - US authorities arrested five self-described anarchists in the Cleveland area for allegedly plotting to blow up a four-lane highway bridge, but they were caught by an FBI undercover sting and had no ties to foreign terrorism, the US Justice Department said on Tuesday.
The suspects, ranging in ages from 20 to 37, placed what they believed were bombs on the bridge last night and tried to detonate them by calling and sending text messages to cell phones attached to the explosives, authorities said. The suspects were quickly arrested by the FBI and have been charged with conspiracy and attempting to use explosive materials.
The FBI said the five arrested suspects, identified as Douglas Wright, Brandon Baxter, Anthony Hayne, Connor Stevens and Joshua Stafford, were under continuous watch as part of an undercover operation and that the explosives, supplied by an undercover FBI agent, were inert.
"I want to stress ... at no time during this investigation was the public in danger," FBI agent Stephen Anthony told reporters in Cleveland. The bridge is about 15 miles (24 km) south of Cleveland in an area popular with hikers and joggers.