Man arrested in alleged Oklahoma City bombing attempt

Man arrested in alleged Oklahoma City bombing attempt
Posted at 1:13 PM, Aug 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-14 10:02:11-04

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (RNN) - A man was arrested Monday after his alleged attempt to bomb a bank in downtown Oklahoma City.

Jerry Drake Varnell, 23, allegedly attempted to bomb a bank with a device similar to the one responsible the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred C. Murrah building, but an undercover FBI agent stood between him and his plans, authorities said.

Varnell was arrested in the early morning hours Monday by the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and other law enforcement officers after the alleged attempt to blow up the building failed.

The efforts of the FBI agent led Varnell to build a vehicle-based bomb that ended up being inert. The bomb failed to detonate when he dialed the number to explode it in front of the BancFirst building.

The public was not in danger, authorities said.

"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, KOCO reported. "I can assure the public, without hesitation, that we had Varnell’s actions monitored every step of the way."

He initially wanted to blow up the Eccles Federal Reserve Building in Washington, DC, the complaint said, but also considered bombing the IRS and Facebook and Bank of America data centers, the complaint said.

Varnell first came to the FBI's attention in December 2016  when a confidential informant reported on him.

"I'm out for blood. When militias start getting formed I'm going after governmental officials when I have a team," Varnell told the confidential source, according to the criminal complaint.

Varnell said he also had a bunker for when the U.S. failed.

The confidential informant provided similar message from Varnell in early 2017, and the informant, who was wired by authorities, met with Varnell in Sayre, OK, in April and May 2017, where he discussed the bombings and asked the informant to get him ammonia nitrate.

The FBI undercover agent started meeting with Varnell in late May and helped him assemble his bomb, the complaint said. During their meetings, Varnell admitted adhering to "III% ideology ... wanting to start the next revolution."

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