FBI foils plot to bomb Oklahoma City bank

Law enforcement officers arrested Jerry Varnell for allegedly planning to detonate a bomb at an Oklahoma City bank because he was upset with the government. Photo courtesy the Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Aug. 15 (UPI) — The FBI foiled a plan by a 23-year-old man to detonate a bomb at a bank in downtown Oklahoma City over dissatisfaction with the government, court documents indicate.

A criminal complaint filed Sunday said Jerry Varnell, of Sayre, Okla., originally planned to bomb the Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C., but settled for an attempt on the BancFirst building in the Oklahoma capital.

Police arrested Varnell early Saturday morning.

An FBI agent posed as a person who could assist Varnell with the bombing and a statement he planned to post on social media after the bombing. The agent also helped Varnell assemble the explosive device and load it into a stolen van.

Varnell then drove the van by himself to the bank and dialed a phone number on a cellphone he believed would set off the explosion, the complaint said.

Varnell faces charges of attempting to use an explosive to destroy a building in interstate commerce. He faces a mandatory five years in prison up to a maximum of 20 years in prison.

“There was never a concern that our community’s safety or security was at risk during this investigation,” said Kathryn Peterson, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oklahoma. “I can assure the public, without hesitation, that we had Varnell’s actions monitored every step of the way.”


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