Jackson Matthew Sawall was one of three men who planned to plunge regions into chaos and cause a race war by attacking power stations, according to federal prosecutors.
An Oshkosh man has pleaded guilty to taking part in a white supremacist plot to attack US power grids in an effort to cause a race war, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday.
Jackson Matthew Sawall, 22, was one of three men to plead guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
“These three defendants admitted to engaging in a disturbing plot, in furtherance of white supremacist ideology, to attack energy facilities in order to damage the economy and stoke division in our country,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew G. Olsen in a statement. “The Justice Department is committed to investigating and disrupting such terrorist plots and holding perpetrators accountable for their crimes.”
Twenty-year-old Christopher Brenner Cook of Columbus, Ohio and 24-year-old Jonathan Allen Frost of Lafayette, Indiana, and Katy, Texas, began planning their attack online in 2019, according to the DOJ. They reportedly planned to attack separate power stations across the US to knock out power grids and plunge regions into chaos in hopes that civil unrest would lead to war.
Cook then recruited Sawall to join the plot.
The trio met in-person in Columbus in February 2020 to make further plans, during which time Frost and Cook practiced their rifle skills, according to the DOJ. Frost also handed out fentanyl-filled necklaces so the three could kill themselves if they were caught.
During the visit, Cook and Sawall reportedly spray-painted a swastika under a Columbus bridge with the caption “Join the Front,” and they had plans to spray-paint more spots around town before they were pulled over by police. During the traffic stop, Sawall unsuccessfully tried to kill himself with his suicide necklace, according to the DOJ.
After that event, Cook and Frost continued to travel together, with Cook visiting various cities to try to recruit more young people to join their cause, the DOJ said.
Each of the men face 15 years in prison, a lifetime of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. In exchange for Sawall’s guilty plea, federal prosecutors are recommending a 30-year supervised release period.