Man Arrested In Attempted Downtown Oklahoma City Bombing

An exterior shot of the U.S. Federal Reserve building in Washington D.C

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.

Varnell was charged with attempting to use explosives to destroy a building in interstate commerce.

"I commend the devoted work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and our state law enforcement partners in ensuring that violent plots of this kind never succeed", said Mark A. Yancey, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.

The alleged plot mirrored that of infamous anti-government extremist Timothy McVeigh, who used ammonium nitrate to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people and wounding over 600 others.

"I'm out for blood", the complaint quotes Varnell's texts. But when the undercover agent told him in June that any bombing might kill one or more people, Mr. Varnell responded, "You got to break a couple of eggs to make an omelet", according to the affidavit. "At the point when local armies begin getting shaped I'm following government authorities when I have a group". "I can assure the public, without hesitation, that we had Varnell's actions monitored every step of the way".

The FBI was tipped off to the plot by a confidential informant and sent undercover agents posing as someone who could help him, the complaint says. Soon after 12 pm on Saturday, Varnell drove the van without anyone else from a capacity unit in El Reno, around 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the bank in Oklahoma City, and dialed a number on a cell phone that he accepted would trigger the blast.

In late December, an informant told authorities that Varnell was angry with the government and wanted to develop a small militia with collected firearms.

The complaint alleges Varnell went on to develop his plot, identifying his target bank and loading a van with an explosive device based on materials provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Varnell faces up to 20 years in prison with a minimum sentence of five years.

Varnell also said at that meeting he was inspired by the movie "Fight Club", saying he wanted to perform similar acts and had already begun experimenting with homemade bombs.

The complaint also states that Varnell prepared a statement to be posted on Facebook after the explosion which reads in part that the attack was "retaliation against the freedoms that have been taken away from the American people" and "an act done to show the government what the people think of its actions". "The time for revolution is now".

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