3 Neo-Nazis Plead Guilty In Plot To Attack U.S. Power Grids

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Three neo-Nazis have pleaded guilty to domestic terrorism charges related to a plot to attack power grids across the United States.

Jonathan Frost, 24, Christopher Cook, 20, and Jackson Sawall, 22, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material support to extremists, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

“According to these pleas, three individuals engaged in a disturbing plot to attack our country’s energy infrastructure, damage the economy and stoke division in our society, all in the name of white supremacy,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen said in a statement.

Frost and Cook met in an extremists’ chat room in 2019 to discuss a plan to attack a power grid. Sawall, a friend of Cook’s, joined them later that year to help with recruitment efforts and operation security, according to the Justice Department. As part of recruitment, Cook circulated reading materials that promoted white supremacy and neo-Nazism.

The plan involved attacking power grids in different regions across the country using rifles. The three believed the plan “would cost the cost the government millions of dollars and cause unrest for Americans in the region,” the Justice Department said, adding, “They had conversations about how the possibility of the power being out for many months could cause war, even a race war, and induce the next Great Depression.”

In 2020, the three men met up in Columbus, Ohio, where Cook lived, to further plan the attack and spread neo-Nazi propaganda, including by painting a swastika flag under a bridge.

Cook provided Frost and Sawall with AR-47 rifles and the men practiced at shooting ranges. Frost also gave Cook and Sawall “suicide necklaces” that were filled with fentanyl pills in case they were caught, according to the Justice Department. Sawall swallowed his pill during a traffic stop in Ohio but survived.

“These individuals wanted to carry out such a plot because of their adherence to racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist views,” Timothy Langan, assistant director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, said in a statement.

All three men face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.