Anti-government group: Bomb plot suspect no longer a member - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Anti-government group: Bomb plot suspect no longer a member

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Latest on the Oklahoma bomb plot (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

An anti-federal government group says a man accused of plotting to bomb an Oklahoma City bank was briefly one of its members but is no longer.

A statement issued by the III% (three percent) United Patriots also repudiates the alleged actions of Jerry Drake Varnell. III% United Patriots spokesman Dylan Hunter says Varnell's claim to adhering to III% aims "are blatantly false" as the group does not condone acts of terrorism. He said Varnell had signed up to be a member less than a year ago but was never active and has been removed from the Oklahoma and national membership rolls.

A criminal complaint says the Sayre, Oklahoma, man told undercover investigators he sympathizes with "III% ideology," which pledges resistance to the U.S. government. He also said he wanted to use a device similar to the one that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people.

Undercover FBI agents prevented the attack from actually taking place. Varnell is charged with attempting to use explosives to destroy a building in interstate commerce and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

3:45 p.m.

Oklahoma's senior U.S. senator says law enforcement authorities "prevented a hateful act of domestic terrorism" by foiling a plot to bomb an Oklahoma City bank.

Sen. Jim Inhofe said Monday the plot that ended Saturday with the arrest of a 23-year-old man could have mirrored the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people and injured hundreds more. Inhofe says he's grateful authorities prevented it without putting the community at risk.

Officials arrested Jerry Drake Varnell of Sayre, Oklahoma, for allegedly attempting to detonate a vehicle bomb. Undercover FBI agents prevented the attack from actually taking place.

Varnell is charged with attempting to use explosives to destroy a building in interstate commerce and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

3:15 p.m.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma says it's chilling that someone would want to commit an act of terror in Oklahoma City as a tribute to the deadly 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Officials say 23-year-old Jerry Drake Varnell of Sayre, Oklahoma, was arrested Saturday in connection with a plot to detonate a vehicle bomb outside an Oklahoma City bank. Undercover FBI agents prevented the attack from happening.

Lankford says the incident is a somber reminder that Americans must remain vigilant about home-grown extremism and radicalization in local communities.

A criminal complaint says Varnell told undercover investigators he sympathizes with "III% ideology," which pledges resistance to the U.S. government and wanted to use a device similar to the one that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people.

11:30 a.m.

The FBI has arrested a 23-year-old man who authorities say attempted to detonate what he believed was an explosives-laden van outside an Oklahoma bank.

Officials say Jerry Drake Varnell of Sayre, Oklahoma, was arrested Saturday in connection with a plot to detonate a vehicle bomb in Oklahoma City.

A federal complaint says the FBI learned in December that Varnell wanted to blow up a building and that an undercover FBI agent posed as someone who could help. Officials say Varnell initially wanted to blow up the Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C., with a device similar to one used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Varnell is scheduled to appear in federal court Monday afternoon on a charge of attempting to use explosives to destroy a building in interstate commerce.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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