One of the five men accused in plotting to bomb the Route 82 bridge is seeking to have his trial moved out of Northeast Ohio and be tried separately for his alleged role in the crime.
News Channel 5 reports the attorney for 26 -year old Douglas Wright filed a report Monday to have his client tried separately from the other four men saying they have pointed to him as an instigator.
The attorney for the Indianapolis native said the trial should be moved to Toledo, away from the alleged targets that were on the list of the men who described themselves as anarchists.
All five men have pleaded not guilty and could possibly face life in prison if convicted.
On the Web www.newsnet5.com
No bond for the five men charged with plotting to blow up the Route 82 bridge spanning the Cuyahoga River between Brecksville and Sagamore Hills Township.
Federal judge David Dowd rejected bids from the five seeking release on bond pending their trials, saying they all posed a flight risk. The quintet are scheduled to go on trial in mid-September.
The five were arrested in late April after what the FBI detailed was a conspiracy to plant plastic explosives at the base of the bridge, leading to efforts to trigger the blasts using a cellular telephone as a remote detonator. The explosives turned out to the bogus, provided by a federal undercover agent.
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(AP) AKRON, Ohio - A federal judge in Akron says five men charged with plotting to bomb a highway bridge must remain locked up pending trial.
The Akron-based judge ruled Tuesday against the suspects' bond request.
The judge says Doug Wright, Josh Stafford, Tony Hayne, Connor Stevens and Brandon Baxter must remain locked up to keep them from fleeing and to protect the public.
The men were arrested in late April when they allegedly tried to detonate what turned out to be a dud bomb provided by an FBI undercover informant.
The defendants have pleaded not guilty. One defense attorney called it a case of entrapment, with the informant guiding the way.
They could face life in prison if convicted of trying to bomb the bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park south of Cleveland.
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With the arrests of 5 men attempting to blow up a Northeast Ohio bridge, domestic terrorism is now firmly back in the public's consciousness .
Dr. Andrew Thomas, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Akron, and an expert on transportation security says today's arrests are proof that U.S. citizens should always be aware of domestic terrorists.
"We need to remember that this is part of the human condition and that this is something the United States is not immune from," Thomas said. "This will always be with us."
The five self-described anarchists allegedly targeted the Route 82 bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park that connects Sagamore Hills and Brecksville.
Dr. Andrew Thomas by Aaron Coleman
Thomas says people will always disagree with the Government at some level, but says to keep an ear out for talk of violence or harm.
"When you hear things like violence, destruction of property, or anything of that nature, then you should be concerned."
"In a free and open society, you'll have people that will take things too far, and it appears as though this is the case here," Thomas explained.
The men were arrested Monday night after the FBI foiled their plans.
Your morning may have started out as routine: grab some coffee or orange juice, get yourself out the door on the way to work (much less anyone else in the house) and hope you had fuel in the tank and wouldn't need to deal with the price of gasoline. The ride home tonight may be a bit different, especially when looking over the rail on the bridges that span the Cuyahoga, Rocky, Vermillion, Chagrin, Tuscarawas or the hundreds of other rivers, creeks, streams and valleys that crease northeast Ohio.
The federal government provided a glimpse of how terrorism isn't just a problem overseas. It's here at home, thanks to a five-pack of self-described "anarchists" who, at one time or another, talked about blowing up the Detroit-Superior Bridge, the Valley View Bridge, the Cleveland Federal Reserve, ships carrying cargo and themselves before settling on getting what they thought was discount C-4 explosive to take down the Route 82 bridge linking Sagamore Hills Township with Brecksville.
13,000+ vehicles cross that bridge everyday. It passes over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, bikers, runners, scenic trains, deer and eagles. It's not a strategic military target, not even a particularly commercially interesting bridge linking a pair of powerhouse industrial sites. The nearest business to the bridge is the Clippity-Clop Shop where you can buy items for horses, or cowboy shirts and boots. There's a bar nearby, and an art framing gallery. And trees. Lots of trees.
Reading through the U.S. Attorney's criminal complaint in United States of America v Douglas L. Wright is at times ludicrous and chilling.
The government charges three men at the center of the alleged plot. Douglas Wright, aka "Cyco", is 26 and appears to be the hot-headed leader of the pack. Brandon Baxter, 20, aka "Skabby", at one point jokes about strapping on explosives and blowing himself up in the Federal Reserve if he got drunk enough. Anthony Hayne, aka "Tony" or "Billy" met with two others and hatched a scheme to use $900 dollars worth of explosives and remote detonating devices.
They were joined by a confidential informant who first met Wright at "an event" held by a group of anarchists. The FBI was notified and sent their informant to the party in October of last year, where several participants weren't happy the protest crowd wasn't buying into their opinion that violence was better than peaceful disobedience. That led to more meetings and more talk.
Among the items included in the 21-page complaint:
C-4 is one of the explosives of choice, and like most explosives gets it's destructive power as gas rapidly expands. The website HowStuffWorks has an interesting read on C-4 and why it's designed for military purposes. The photo from HowStuffWorks.com, at left, shows the power of the plastic explosive from two charges set off on an airport runway.
There's a healthy debate going on around the country as to whether the trio, and pair of other alleged accomplices, were the victims of an F.B.I. sting and the actions of the informant or undercover agent was more entrapment than investigation. It's a good discussion to have, even while I personally approve of law enforcement gathering intelligence and working undercover. In my mind, it beats what might happen when real C4 and real IED's are used.
We see enough of that already to know they kill. But that's overseas, right? Except for September 11th, it's only something that might happen, right? Even then, we're in Cleveland, for goodness sake.
I take this bridge to work occasionally; my wife and I have walked or biked this path in the National Park hundreds of times. Friends and family take it as a matter of course, thinking only of how pretty it is when the colors ripen in the fall or the first hint of green starts to proclaim spring's here. It's just a means of getting across the valley, from one point to the other. At least, I suspect, that's the way it is for the 13,000 other cars using the bridge on a daily basis.
We live in such a sheltered world. To imagine there aren't those who wish to do us harm, extremists to believe any means justifies the end, has been proven wrong again and again. We walk a tightrope of living in a system that allows us to drift off into a fuzzy innocence, one where we don't think we need informants and undercover agents because they intrude on our privacy. Balanced by the need to remember there are those who wish to do us harm, even though to them we are just nameless and faceless collateral damage.
Balancing our privacy and security is a choice between reactive and proactive, and just how far we are willing to let that pendulum swing in either direction. With a quintet of men we may have walked past in the supermarket before they were arrested standing as a reminder, and the target not the function of what happens thousands of miles away or on a television show but on the very road we travel, what is your answer?
Five people face federal charges in Cleveland for allegedly plotting to blow up the Route 82 bridge between Sagamore Hills and Brecksville.
U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach says it's considered a terrorist plot.
Douglas L. Wright, 26, Brandon L. Baxter, 20, and Anthony Hayne, 35, were arrested by members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force April 30 on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce.
Both Connor C. Stevens, 20, and Joshua S. Stafford, 23, were also arrested
Dettelbach says the public was not in danger from the explosives the five allegedly planned to use.
(Image Courtesy: CVNP)
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Five people were arrested and accused of conspiring to use explosives to destroy a bridge near Cleveland, Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland Division of the FBI, announced today.
Douglas L. Wright, 26, Brandon L. Baxter, 20, and Anthony Hayne, 35, were arrested by members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force on the evening of April 30, 2012, on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce. Also arrested were Connor C. Stevens, 20, and Joshua S. Stafford, 23.
The public was never in danger from the explosive devices, which were controlled by an undercover FBI employee. The defendants were closely monitored by law enforcement. The explosives that the defendants allegedly purchased and attempted to use were inoperable and posed no threat to the public.
A criminal complaint was filed this morning in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.
According to that complaint, Wright, Baxter and Hayne are self-proclaimed anarchists who formed into a small group and considered a series of evolving plots over several months.
The initial plot involved the use of smoke grenades to distract law enforcement in order for the co-conspirators to topple financial institution signs atop high rise buildings in downtown Cleveland, according to the complaint.
The plot later developed to the utilization of explosive materials. The defendants conspired to obtain C-4 explosives contained in two improvised explosive devices to be placed and remotely detonated, according to the complaint.
The defendants discussed various bridges and physical targets in and around the Cleveland metropolitan area over the course of several months. The final plan resulted in the Route 82 Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge being the designated target. This bridge crosses from Brecksville, Ohio, to Sagamore Hills, Ohio, over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, according to the complaint.
“The complaint in this case alleges that the defendants took specific and defined actions to further a terrorist plot,” said U.S. Attorney Dettelbach. “The defendants stand charged based not upon any words or beliefs they might espouse, but based upon their own plans and actions.”
“The safety of the citizens of the Northern District of Ohio is and continues to be our primary focus. The individuals charged in this plot were intent on using violence to express their ideological views,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Anthony. “The Joint Terrorism Task Force will continue to be vigilant in its efforts to detect and disrupt any terrorism threat, domestic or international.”
Wright, Baxter, Hayne, Stevens and Stafford will appear before a federal magistrate in U.S. District court today, May 1, 2012, in Cleveland.
Agencies represented on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force include: Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Sheriff’s Office; Federal Air Marshal Service; Cleveland Police Department; Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Police Department; U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service; Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Intelligence; Westlake, Ohio, Police Department; U.S. Diplomatic Security Service; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Customs and Border Protection; RTA Police; Ohio State Highway Patrol; Transportation Security Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Shaker Heights, Ohio, Police Department; North Olmstead, Ohio, Police Department; U.S. Postal Inspectors; and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. Assistance was also provided by the U.S. National Park Service Park Rangers, Sagamore Hills Police Department, Brecksville Police Department and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. All defendants are presumed innocent of the charges until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.
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