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The 5 men suspected of attempting to blow up a bridge near Cleveland pled not guilty in Federal Court this afternoon.

The detention hearing for the suspects was continued until further order of the court.  Joshua Stafford acted up at the end of the hearing.  The judge warned him that it was not in his best interest to behave that way.

A three-count indictment was filed Thursday against the five people accused of taking part in a plot to detonate a bridge near Cleveland, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for the Northern District of Ohio.

All five men face identical charges: one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction to destroy property used in interstate commerce, one count of conspiracy to use of a weapon of mass destruction to destroy property used in interstate commerce and one count of attempted use of an explosive device to damage or destroy real property used in interstate commerce.

Indicted are Douglas L. Wright, 26, of Indianapolis; Brandon L. Baxter, 20, of Lakewood, Ohio; Anthony Hayne, 35, of Cleveland; Connor C. Stevens, 20, of Berea, Ohio, and Joshua S. Stafford, of Cleveland.

According to the indictment, the five men conspired between Feb. 20 and April 30, 2012 to use two improvised explosive devices containing C-4 plastic explosives on the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge.

“The indictment in this case alleges that the defendants took specific and defined actions to further a terrorist plot,” Dettelbach said. “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,” Anthony said.  “The Joint Terrorism Task Force will continue to be vigilant in its efforts to detect and disrupt any terrorism threat, domestic or international.”

This case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Duncan Brown and was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Agencies represented on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force include:  Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Air Marshal Service, Cleveland Police Department, Cleveland Heights Police Department, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Intelligence, Westlake Police Department, U.S. Diplomatic Security Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, RTA Police, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Transportation Security Administration, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Shaker Heights Police Department, North Olmstead Police Department, US 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 and Brecksville Police Department, and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

An indictment is merely an accusation.  All defendants are presumed innocent of the charges until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.

Article Courtesy of WOIO 19 Action News


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