Three American youth have been sentenced to prison for an alleged plot to blow up a highway bridge in Cleveland, Ohio, in yet another case of FBI agents deliberately inciting troubled youth to commit terror actions.
In an apparent forced plea bargain, in which government prosecutors intimidated suspects to plead guilty to avoid a harsher sentence, the three Americans were sentenced to prison on Tuesday by a federal judge.
Brandon Baxter, 20, Connor Stevens, 20, and Douglas Wright, 27, all pleaded guilty on September 5 to “conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction,” along with other related charges, Reuters reported.
A fourth suspect, Anthony Hayne, 35, pleaded guilty in July and agreed to testify against the others in a deal with US prosecutors to receive a lighter sentence. Hayne, according to the report, is expected to get a 15-year jail term when he is sentenced on Wednesday.
The fifth suspect, Joshua Stafford, has been undergoing competency testing.
Slamming the growing use of the FBI tactic of using undercover agents to frame American and foreign-born youth in terrorist plots, Andy Baxter, father of Brandon Baxter, told the court his son was manipulated by an FBI informant.
"Why don't they send someone in these groups to calm them down rather than instigate?" Baxter asked.