An apparent anti-government activist was arrested attempting to blow up a bank in Oklahoma City.
According to reports, he was set to blow up what he thought was an explosive-laden van outside of a BancFirst branch.
NEW: FBI: Man arrested after attempting to detonate vehicle bomb outside downtown OKC bank https://t.co/82DdfEELZA
— WTVC NewsChannel 9 (@newschannelnine) August 14, 2017
Jerry Drake Varnell attempted to detonate what he believed to be an explosives-laden van next to BancFirst in OKC https://t.co/7fkarfKzGR
— Nick Short (@PoliticalShort) August 14, 2017
The FBI has arrested an Oklahoma man on charges that he tried to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb, acting out of a hatred for the U.S. government and an admiration for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, according to court papers.
Jerry Drake Varnell was arrested shortly after an early Saturday morning attempt to detonate a fake bomb packed into what he believed was a stolen cargo van outside a bank in Oklahoma City, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court. He was charged with attempted destruction of a building by means of an explosive.
According to the complaint, over the course of a months-long undercover investigation by the FBI, Varnell made repeated statements about the extent of his hatred of the federal government.
In one conversation he said he believed in the “Three Percenter” ideology — a form of anti-government activism that pledges resistance against the United States government on the belief it has infringed on the Constitution, according to court papers. Those who subscribe to the ideology incorrectly believe that only 3 percent of the colonial population participated in the American Revolution, and they see themselves as their heirs.
Varnell, however, appeared to have wanted to keep casualties of his bombs minimal by targeting the building for a midnight explosion. His goal was to send a message to the government and cripple it without killing many, if any, civilians.