FBI Nabs Couple With Extremist Views Over Alleged Plot To Strike Power Grid

Electrical transformer of high tension in a distribution electric power station of electricity power.

Photo: Getty Images

The FBI arrested a man and a woman with "extremist" views accused of plotting an attack on the power grid in Maryland. The Justice Department said that Sarah Beth Clendaniel of Catonsville, Maryland, and Brandon Clint Russell of Orlando, Florida, "conspired and took steps to shoot multiple electrical substations" in Norrisville, Reisterstown, and Perry Hall.

"It would probably permanently completely lay this city to waste if we could do that successfully," Clendaniel allegedly told an FBI confidential source.

Power companies Exelon and BGE said they are both cooperating with the FBI.

"We are thankful for their vigilance and the precautions taken to protect the electric grid for our customers and employees," Exelon said in a statement. "Law enforcement acted before the perpetrators were able to carry out their plan, and there was no damage to any of the substations, nor was any service disrupted."

Clendaniel and Russell were both charged with conspiracy to damage energy facilities.

Russell, who is the founding member of a neo-Nazi group, was previously sentenced to five years in prison in 2018 after pleading guilty to charges of possessing an unregistered destructive device and unlawful storage of explosive material.

Clendaniel previously spent time in jail for robbing convenience stores armed with a machete.

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