Thursday, March 23, 2023


What We Know About Bahamian Neo Nazi Leader. He Plotted to Attack US Power Stations

US authorities charged Brandon Russel, a Bahamian-American, and his girlfriend with plotting to attack Baltimore’s power grid.

Russel, 27, and Sara Beth Clendial, 34, considered domestic terrorists, were conspiring to shoot at five energy substations in Maryland, court documents show, in an effort to “completely destroy the city” and to “permanently completely lay this city to waste.”

Thomas Sobocinski, special agent in charge of the FBI Baltimore field office said, “The accused were not just talking, but taking steps to fulfill their threats and further their extremist goals.”

The pair is charged with conspiracy to destroy an energy facility and could face 20 years in prison.

Who is Brandon Russell?

  1. Brandon Russell has dual citizenship—Bahamian and American– and was a former student of St Andrew’s School in the Bahamas where he was hailed as “an amazing student” in the school’s weekly newsletter.
  2. His mother, Chantalle Russell-Hilts, operated The Athlete’s Foot franchise stores in Nassau and Freeport, and his grandparents William and Molly Russell are business owners of Park n’ Shop.
  3. In 2016, he enlisted in the US Army National Guard where he worked as a systems operator maintainer. He was never deployed.
  4. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison for possession of unregistered destructive devices and illegal storage of explosives found in his bedroom.
  5. Brandon Russell is the founder of the notorious neo-Nazi group, Atomwaffen Division which has been linked to murders, bombings, and plots in the United States, Canada and Australia. The group, though small, became known for its extreme violence.
  6. He is considered an extremist with far-right ideologies with the belief that “the modern, post-industrial society cannot be redeemed. Instead, they believe it ought to be driven into apocalyptic collapse so a white ethnostate or whites-only utopia can be constructed in its wake,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  7. A friend said Russel’s family “was not happy with his views and kicked him out of his home”.
  8. Russel first met his accomplice, Clendaniel when she served a prison sentence for armed robbery. He was released from prison in 2021.

Sam Bankman-Fried Faces US Extradition After Arrest in the Bahamas

FTX founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is facing extradition to the United States after his arrest in the Bahamas following mounting claims of misappropriation of billions of dollars of customer funds on his crypto platform.

The surprising news came late Tuesday evening after the Bahamas Attorney General Ryan Pinder issued a statement confirming the disgraced crypto wunderkind is under arrest in the country where FTX was headquartered before its collapse on November 11.

Prime Minister Philip Davis said, “The Bahamas and the United States have shared interest in holding accountable all individuals associated with FTX who may have betrayed the public trust and broken the law.”

It became apparent that the United States filed criminal charges against Bankman-Fried after ramping up its investigations into the alleged lost funds and reports of fraud at the crypto exchange that fell rapidly.

Criminal charges were filed in a New York courtroom and prosecutors are expected to unseal documents on Tuesday. But someone familiar with the matter told New York Times, the charges against Bankman-Fried include wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud conspiracy and money laundering.

Bankman-Fried allegedly funneled customer monies from FTX once valued at $32 billion, to his sister company Alameda. Despite his downfall, Bankman-Fried continued his media tours in which he detailed FTX’s accounting errors.

It’s important to note that the Bahamas is conducting its own investigations. At the end of last month, Pinder said the Bahamas Securities Commission and the Royal Bahamas Police Force were probing the allegations of fraud by Bankman-Fried.

Davis said on Monday night, “While the United States is pursuing criminal charges against SBF individually, the Bahamas will continue its own regulatory and criminal investigations into the collapse of FTX with the continued cooperation of its law enforcement and regulatory partners in the United States and elsewhere.”

The AG Office said it awaits a formal request for extradition from the US and will “process it promptly, pursuant of the Bahamian law and its treaty obligations with the United States.”

The arrest comes after Bankman-Fried finally agreed to testify on Tuesday before the Finance Committee on Capitol Hill about how events unfolded at the exchange.

Bahamian Boy in Florida Takes the Stand After Officers Punch Him During Arrest

The Bahamian boy living in Florida took the stand on Friday to defend his position after a video circulated last year showing Broward County officers punching and hitting his head on the ground.

The officers, Deputies Gregory Lacerra and Christopher Krickovich asked a judge on Friday, to dismiss the charges, citing Florida’s “Stand-your-ground” law.

Local – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports | Fort Lauderdale
Delucca Rolle takes the stand and gives an account of the incident     Photo credit: WSVN

Delucca Rolle, the 15-years-old at the time, described the incident which took place April 2019, after he was pepper-sprayed by the officers.

“I don’t know what I was thinking. I just thought, ‘My eyes are burning.’ That’s all I had my mind on,” he said.

“I told him I was sorry for using foul language and I told him, ‘Don’t (expletive) touch me,’” Delucca told the court.

Prosecutors in the case said officers used excessive force. Prosecutor Justin McCormack said, “You’re going to be able to see Delucca Rolle outside of the plaza, on the sidewalk by the street, by himself, not part of any fray or any group.”

But the officers’ attorney said the officers were acting in self-defense amidst the chaos.

“There was terror and mayhem at the Tamarac Town Square Plaza,” said Attorney Eric Schwartzreich. “The evidence is going to show that Delucca Rolle committed an assault.”

Attorney Schwartzeich also highlighted the inconsistencies in Delucca’s testimonies saying that he lied in his initial testimony of standing next to the fight, to which Delucca admitted.

What exactly happened on the day of the incident?

Hundreds of teens gathered near a McDonald’s in Tamarac, Florida for a fight between two girls, after school was dismissed.

Delucca waited on a curb for his mother to pick him up. But as Delucca’s friend was being handcuffed by officers, Delucca ran for his friend’s cellphone. He was then pepper-sprayed and pushed to the ground.

Cell phones captured the incident and the video went viral.

Delucca Rolle arrested by officers in Florida. Photo credit: SunSentinel 

Delucca, now an 11th grader, was arrested but charges were later dropped. Officer Krickkovich was fired and LaCerra was placed on restricted leave.

What was the reaction in the Bahamas?

Opposition members called on Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield to address the incident. PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell said the government should have intervened in the matter.

Mitchell said, “Sucking up to the United States does not change anything.

“What you have to do is lookout for the interest of your citizens and the U.S. understands that very well, and don’t care whether or not we issue advisories for our residents.”

Has Delucca faced other arrests?

Yes, since the incident, Delucca has been arrested two other times.

Delucca was arrested in August 2019 after neighbours saw two teenagers walking through a neighbourhood at 3 a.m. The arresting officer said neither of the teens lived nearby and none could give an account for what they were doing in the neighbourhood.

The teenagers faced loitering and prowling charges.

Delucca was again arrested in June of that year, after being found in a stolen car and resisting an officer without violence.

The case involving the rough arrest resumes on Monday.

Featured Picture: SunSentinel