Federal grand jury indicts pair who planned attack on Baltimore-area electrical grid

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A federal grand jury Tuesday indicted a Catonsville woman and a neo-Nazi residing in Orlando, Fla., on one count of conspiring to destroy an electrical transmission substation resulting in damages that would have exceeded $100,000, court documents show.

A woman believed to be Sarah Beth Clendaniel is shown wearing tactical gear containing a swastika, holding a rifle and with a pistol in a drop holster on her left leg. (Photo from FBI Affidavit)

Federal authorities had arrested Sarah Beth Clendaniel, 34, and Brandon Clint Russell, 27, on a criminal information earlier this month, alleging that the two conspired to shoot up five BGE substations that would cause a “cascading failure” in the power grid, an FBI affidavit showed.

Clendaniel specifically mentioned destroying electrical substations in Norrisville, Reisterstown and Perry Hall, and two more in and around Baltimore City, the affidavit alleged.

Much of the information that led to the charges was obtained from an unnamed FBI confidential informant, who communicated with Clendaniel and Russell, who was known to authorities for his affiliations with pro-Nazi groups.

As part of the indictment, a forfeiture notice was filed for any and all assets that could be traced to the crime of terrorism, should the two be convicted. The forfeiture notice listed property already seized by the FBI, including:

  • A Kral Av Sanayi semiautomatic 12-gauge shotgun;
  • A P80 Glock-style handgun, with no serial number or manufacturer;
  • 559 rounds of 9-mm ammunition;
  • 953 rounds of 7.62-mm ammunition; and
  • 77 shotgun cartridges.

If convicted, Russell and Clendaniel each face a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison.


This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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