Neo-Nazi Stopped Before Major Attack

( – The Federal Bureau of Investigation has prevented a power grid attack in Baltimore, Maryland, by arresting two people, one of whom is described as a neo-Nazi group leader. 

FBI officials announced on Monday that the two had been plotting a “racially motivated” attack on the electricity supply in the Baltimore region, Newsmax reported.  

The two suspects were arrested last week. Brandon Russell, the founder of the neo-Nazi Atomwaffen Division, was nabbed in Florida, and Sarah Beth Clendaniel was apprehended in Maryland.

The arrests come after electricity substation attacks in North Carolina, South Carolina, and the Pacific Northwest at the end of last year.

The most significant case was in Moore County, North Carolina, where gunshots fired at two substations left 45,000 households and businesses without electricity for days.

“The accused were not just talking, but taking steps to fulfill their threats and further their extremist goals,” FBI special agent Thomas Sobocinski said about the foiled Baltimore power grid attack.

“Their actions threatened the electricity and heat of our homes, hospitals, and businesses. The FBI believes this was a real threat,” Sobocinski, who is in charge of the FBI Baltimore field office, told ABC News.

He said Clendaniel was taped telling an FBI informant that she planned to shoot energy substations in the Baltimore area in Norrisville, Reisterstown, and Perry Hall. She has been accused of collaborating with Russel.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a leftist nonprofit, characterizes Russel’s Atomwaffen Division as keen on “ushering in the collapse of civilization.”

Another left-wing nonprofit, the Anti-Defamation League, says the neo-Nazi group favors “the idea of lone wolf violence” and admires Charles Manson.

According to US Attorney Erek Barron, who spoke at a news conference on Monday alongside FBI special agent Sobocinski, the suspects – Brandon Russel of Orlando, Florida, and Sarah Clendaniel of Catonsville, Maryland, “conspired to inflict maximum harm” on the power grid.

That way, they were hoping to “completely destroy” Baltimore, the attorney said.

Court documents quoted Russel saying attacking power substations was “the greatest thing somebody can do.”

According to the prosecution, he provided instructions and location information for the power grid transformers that he and Clendaniel wanted to target in their plot.

Russel first met Clendaniel while he was incarcerated. They were both out on probation when they devised a plot to attack power substations around Baltimore.

Russel was sentenced to five years in prison in 2018 for possessing an unregistered destructive device. After his release, he started communicating about the substation attacks with an FBI informant in June 2022.

According to the affidavit, he told the informant to carry out an attack “when there is greatest strain on the grid” and “when everyone is using electricity to either heat or cool their homes.”