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?
- 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.
- 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.
- In 2016, he enlisted in the US Army National Guard where he worked as a systems operator maintainer. He was never deployed.
- He was sentenced to 5 years in prison for possession of unregistered destructive devices and illegal storage of explosives found in his bedroom.
- 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.
- 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.
- A friend said Russel’s family “was not happy with his views and kicked him out of his home”.
- Russel first met his accomplice, Clendaniel when she served a prison sentence for armed robbery. He was released from prison in 2021.