According to the Department of Justice, the three men—Christopher Brenner Cook, 20, of Columbus, Ohio; Jonathan Allen Frost, 24, of Katy, Texas; and Jackson Matthew Sawall, 22, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin— conspired to sow chaos by attacking regional electrical substations, expecting “the damage would lead to economic distress and civil unrest.”
Frost and Cook met in the fall of 2019 and concocted initial plans to attack a power grid, prosecutors said. Their recruitment process for the plot included asking potential participants questions related to writings on neo-Nazism and white supremacy. Sawall joined later and assisted with the group’s online recruitment, operational security, and organization, according to federal authorities.
Court documents reveal that each man was assigned to attacking power grids in different parts of the country with powerful rifles. They believed that knocking out the power grids could cause such prolonged unrest in the country that a war—particularly, a race war—would begin.
“These individuals wanted to carry out such a plot because of their adherence to racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist views,” said Assistant Director Timothy Langan of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division.
Throughout the spring of 2020, the trio met with each other and potential juvenile recruits to discuss the plot. In their conversations, they all expressed a willingness to die in the name of their mission.
On Feb. 7, they were each charged, and now face a maximum of 15 years in prison.