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5 indicted in alleged plot to bomb Ohio bridge

The self-described anarchists, who could get life if convicted, are due in court Monday.

CLEVELAND - Five men suspected of plotting to bomb an Ohio bridge were indicted Thursday on three counts each, including a new charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction to destroy property in interstate commerce.

The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach, who said the men also were charged with conspiracy and attempted use of an explosive device to destroy property in interstate commerce.

The men could face life in prison if convicted of trying to bomb the soaring bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park at Brecksville, south of Cleveland. The bridge also crosses a scenic railway line and a canal tow path popular with joggers and bikers.

The five men, all described as anarchists, were arrested Monday night when they allegedly tried to detonate what turned out to be a dud bomb provided by an FBI undercover informant.

Those charged are Douglas L. Wright, 26, of Indianapolis; Brandon L. Baxter, 20, of Lakewood, Ohio; Connor C. Stevens, 20, of Berea, Ohio; and Joshua S. Stafford, 23, and Anthony Hayne, 35, both of Cleveland.

"This indictment in this case alleges that the defendants took specific and defined actions to further a terrorist plot," Dettelbach said.

Stephen D. Anthony, head of the FBI in northern Ohio, said the work by a joint team of law enforcement officers reflected a commitment "to be vigilant in its efforts to detect and disrupt any terrorism threat, domestic or international."

The alleged plotters, described by the government as anarchists, allegedly acted out of anger against corporate America and the government. All five were ordered held pending a preliminary hearing Monday, when a federal magistrate will take up the issue of setting bond. The government considers them too risky to release.

Cleveland City Councilman Brian Cummins, who has served as a liaison between City Hall and the Occupy movement, said Thursday that the charges against the men, who had been associated with Occupy Cleveland, show the group needs to watch for troublemakers. The Occupy movement said the men were associated with it but did not represent Occupy Cleveland or its nonviolent philosophy.