Two white supremacists get prison time for failed plot to attack power grids

Two men who pleaded guilty to planning a scheme to attack power grids in the U.S. to stoke division and promote white supremacy were sentenced, according to the Justice Department.

Christopher Brenner Cook, of Ohio, and Jonathan Allen Frost, of Texas and Indiana, were two of those charged in connection with the purported plot to support those attacking the grid. Each of the two defendants pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material support to terrorist.

Cook received 92 months in prison, while Frost was ordered to spend just 60 months in prison, according to the U.S. DOJ. The Justice Department also charged Jackson Matthew Sawall, of Wisconsin, who reportedly pleaded guilty last year and will be sentenced at a later date.

“These defendants plotted armed attacks against energy facilities to stoke division in furtherance of white supremacist ideology and now they are being held accountable,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division said in a news release. “The Justice Department will not tolerate the use of violence to advance any extremist ideology and we remain determined to protect our communities from such hateful acts of terror.”

Frost and Cook were accused of recruiting others to engage in the attack on power grids after they met in an online chat group. They purportedly planned to attack substations in different regions of the U.S. with powerful rifles, costing the government millions of dollars and causing unrest.

Prosecutors say the defendants went as far as attempting to recruit juveniles and spreading propaganda, such as spray painting a swastika with the words, "Join the front." The defendants reportedly also had "suicide necklaces" filled with fentanyl in case they were ultimately caught by law enforcement officers.

“At the root of every terrorist plot – whether foreign or domestic – is hate,” U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker for the Southern District of Ohio said Friday. “As a society, we must be vigilant against online radicalization, which is a powerful tool used by extremists to recruit both juveniles and adults.”