The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Anarchist Pleads Guilty in Terrorist Plot to Bomb Cleveland Bridge

By Bill Morlin on July 26, 2012 - 12:24 pm, Posted in Antigovernment, Klan, Trial Updates

One of five self-proclaimed anarchists has pleaded guilty to three federal “weapons of mass destruction” charges in a conspiracy to blow up a bridge, a Ku Klux Klan gathering spot and a Federal Reserve Bank in Ohio.

Anthony M. Hayne, 35, of Cleveland, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and malicious use of an explosive device to destroy property used in interstate commerce.

Hayne entered his pleas before U.S. District Judge David Dowd in Cleveland and agreed to testify against the other defendants. Prosecutors said he could have received life in prison, but under the plea deal he could lower his sentence to 15 to 19 years. No date for sentencing was set.

“We are satisfied with today’s guilty plea and are prepared to prove the allegations against the remaining defendants,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Hayne, Douglas L. Wright, Brandon L. Baxter, Connor C. Stevens and Joshua S. Stafford – all self-described anarchists – were arrested by FBI agents on the evening of April 30 after three members of the group planted what they thought were two C-4 based explosive devices at the base of the Route 82 bridge crossing  the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, south of downtown Cleveland.

The group also discussed using smoke grenades to distract law enforcement while co-conspirators would use explosives to topple signs atop high-rise financial institutions in downtown Cleveland.

The planned acts of terrorism were to coincide with May 1 antigovernment, anti-establishment protests planned in Cleveland and other U.S. cities.

The C-4 explosive devices, which were inert, were purchased by the suspects the day before their arrests from a man who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent, court documents disclose. At no time was the public in danger, the FBI said in a statement detailing the arrests.

The suspects discussed “plans involving violence and destruction to physical property in a variety of ways in order to send a message to corporations and the United States Government,” court documents allege.

“By entering this plea of guilty, Mr. Hayne has taken responsibility for his intent to use explosives to express his ideological views,” said Stephen D. Anthony, special agent in charge of the FBI Cleveland Division, which was involved in the investigation.

  • ABC

    I’m glad law enforcement were able to apprehend these dangerous people and we didn’t have another Oklahoma City incident where some nut jobs killed lots of people with a bomb. I don’t care if the extremists are right wing or left wing. They are both dangerous and I’m glad the SPLC pursues them.

  • Phil

    Omg I wonder why the splc isnt telling people that these anarchists were directly associated with the occupy group(left wing not right) don’t you remember this on the news. Granted it wasn’t on long.

  • shaun

    Another article here, from back in May:

    If the SPLC is at all tuned in, perhaps they would be looking at this story as something akin to contemporary COINTELPRO tactics. Instead I’m finding it in the stream of info about hate crimes?

  • Jack Wolford

    GO FBI !!! Next thing you know the SEALS will be in SRi something or other preventing massacres of civilians who have asked for help. And some Baptists want a chicken sandwich to talk about . We’re WINNING THIS DAMN CONTEST BOTH HERE AND OVERSEAS .

  • Snorlax

    This is another FBI sting where the FBI supplied the phony explosives.

    These guys probably wouldn’t have tried to blow up the bridge if the FBI hadn’t been around to supply them with explosives.

    Are these FBI stings entrapment? Looks like it to me.

  • Branden Adams

    SPLC, you do so well in outing psychotic right-wing cases. Your coverage fills a gap left by the mainstream press’s inability to grasp the gravity of right-wing extremism in America.

    But there is always more to the story when it comes to anarchists. Their plot was hatched by an FBI informant:

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    No, it’s still not a weapon of mass destruction. Technically only nuclear weapons can be considered thus. Besides, according to the police report he believed he could destroy it at a time when there was virtually no traffic, so there was no intent to kill(even though it was a real possibility that anyone should have taken into account).

  • Supersonic250

    Uh, no, it’s a weapon of mass destruction when you use it to blow up a bridge and kill possibly hundreds…. So, yeah, I want him charged!

  • Tom Shelley

    I’m not a big fan of anarchists, but these charges involving “weapons of mass destruction” are ridiculous. Arrest them for using explosives, etc. but there was nothing going on about WMD.


  • Aron

    And they say nothing exciting ever happens in Cleveland…

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    So C4 is a “weapon of mass destruction” now. I guess we really have no idea which country the US might invade in the future now. Anything from Bolivia to The Netherlands.

  • Joseph

    Fight Club anyone?