An Oklahoma man was arrested early Saturday after he attempted to detonate what he thought was an explosives-laden van next to an Oklahoma City bank, federal prosecutors say.
He's charged with attempting to use explosives to destroy a building in interstate commerce and he faces 20 years in prison if convicted.
Both of Oklahoma's Republican U.S. senators said the alleged plot could have rivaled the devastation caused by the Oklahoma City bombing 22 years ago.
"I'm determined to bust some skulls", the protest cites Varnell's writings.
According to a release issued by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Varnell initially wanted to blow up the Federal Reserve Building in Washington D.C. with a similar device used in the 1995 OKC bombing, because investigators say he was upset with the government.
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Upon hearing the commotion behind her, Spears then turns around to see several members of her security detail on-stage. Spears could be heard asking her team, "Is everything okay?" She was soon escorted from the stage by helpers.
Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, is escorted from the Noble County Courthouse in Perry, Okla., April 1995.
The FBI was tipped off to the plot by a confidential informant and sent undercover agents posing as someone who could help him, the complaint says. Varnell's actions were monitored closely for months as the plot developed.
He identified BancFirst as the target, prepared a statement to be posted on social media after the explosion, helped assemble a fake explosive device, helped load it into what he believed was a stolen van and drove the van from El Reno to BancFirst in downtown Oklahoma City, and dialed a number on a cellular telephone that he believed would trigger the explosion. "When militias start getting formed im going after government officials when I have a team".
Varnell was arrested at around 1 a.m. local time Saturday morning, after constructing what he believed to be a bomb with the undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, driving to the BancFirst building in a van he believed stolen, and making repeated attempts to detonate it, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. Amid content discussions in July, Varnell expressed he needed to direct the assault in the wake of shutting hours to counteract setbacks however yielded that some bank laborers or overseers who were inside the building could be killed or harmed in the impact, it says. Mandatory minimum sentence puts him in jail for at least five years.
According to the affidavit, Varnell was also concerned that his attack would be claimed by a different terrorist group like ISIS, so he planned to set up a Facebook message in order to clarify his position advocating violent revolution.
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