The complaint alleges that Varnell initially wanted to blow up the Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C. with a device that was similar to the one used in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
According to the complaint, Varnell identified BancFirst as the target, helped assemble the device, loaded it into a van and drove it to the alley by the bank.
In fact, officials say that Varnell even dialed a number on a cell phone that he believed would trigger the explosion. Authorities say they also found a statement that he planned to post to social media after the explosion.
However, officials say that the device was actually inert and the public was not in any danger.
“There was never a concern that our community’s safety or security was at risk during this investigation,” said Kathryn Peterson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oklahoma. “I can assure the public, without hesitation, that we had Varnell’s actions monitored every step of the way.”
“I commend the devoted work of the FBI 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.