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The pair allegedly conspired to damage several US energy facilities

The pair allegedly conspired to damage several US energy facilities

baltimore – have been a couple federally charged For conspiracy to damage several US energy facilities.

Federal prosecutors say Sarah Beth Clendaniel and Brandon Clint Russell, an alleged violent extremist from Orlando, Florida, conspired together to target Baltimore-area electrical substations in Maryland in an effort to “completely destroy” . [the] The whole city.”

according to charging document attack This is planned to happen “when there is the most pressure on the grid,” such as “when everyone is using electricity to heat or cool their homes.”

Russell also posted links to open source maps allegedly showing the targeted substations located in several Maryland localities, including Baltimore City, Norrisville, Perry Hall and Reisterstown.

Maryland US Attorney Eric L. Barron said, “This well-planned attack put lives at risk and would have left thousands of Marylanders out in the cold and dark.” “We are united and committed to using every legal means necessary to disrupt the violence, including hate attacks.”

The FBI says Clendaniel and Russell had been hooking up since at least 2018. He apparently communicated his intentions via encrypted messaging under various aliases.

Some of these conversations were intercepted by federal investigators.

According to court papers, both Clendaniel and Russell have criminal histories.

During a recorded call, Cladeniel reveals that he was previously convicted of robbing a convenience store with a machete.

Russell meanwhile started his own National Socialist group which allegedly promotes racially or ethnically motivated violence.

Back in May of 2017 in Florida, Russell’s former roommate murdered two other people he shared a house with.

The gunman told officers that he and the two men he killed were members of Russell’s group.

At that time the shooter reportedly converted to Islam, which he claimed by others inspired him to commit his murder.

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Following the announcement of the indictments, Exelon and Baltimore Gas & Electric issued a statement saying:

โ€œThe Federal Bureau of Investigation has notified Exelon and BGE that it disrupted a plot to target multiple BGE electric substations with gunfire. We are working closely with the FBI and state and local law enforcement as they continue their investigation. We continue to do so, and we are grateful for their vigilance and the precautions they take to protect the electric grid for our customers and employees.”

According to the company, there was no disruption of service or damage to any substation. Exelon said there are currently no other known threats to their facilities.

“Law enforcement acted before the criminals were able to carry out their plan, and there was no damage to any substations, nor was any service disrupted. The substations are believed to be connected to either the BGE or Exelon.” Has not been targeted, or caused by a specific vulnerability.”

Cladeniel was scheduled to appear in a preliminary court in Baltimore on Monday at 2 p.m. local time.

This story was originally published WMAR in Baltimore, Maryland.

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