The FBI captured two people, one of them a nationally known neo-Nazi leader, before they could launch an attack on Baltimore’s power grid, authorities said Monday.

The suspects, Brandon Russell and Sarah Clendaniel, were arrested last week, one in Maryland and the other in Florida, authorities said.

Federal authorities described the alleged plot as «racially motivated.»

Russell is one of the founders of the Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi group bent on «heralding the collapse of civilization,» according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group admires Charles Manson and supports «the idea of ​​lone wolf violence,» according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Sarah Clendaniel is suspected of an alleged plot to attack Baltimore’s power grid.nbc news

The suspects «conspired and took steps to fire on multiple electrical substations in the Baltimore area, with the goal of citing, ‘to completely destroy this entire city,'» Erek L. Barron, US Attorney for the District of Maryland, told reporters. .

Thomas J. Sobocinski, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore office, said the suspects were serious about their efforts to shut down the city ​​of 580,000. Over 61% of Baltimore residents are black.

“The defendants were not just talking, they were taking action to carry out their threats and further their extremist goals. Russell provided directions and location information. He described attacking power transformers as the best thing anyone could do,” Sobocinski said.

«Their actions threatened the electricity and heat of our homes, hospitals and businesses.»

Attacks on the nation’s power grid became apparent in December, following two high-profile incidents.

There were shootings in two electrical substations in central North Carolina in early December, authorities said. At the peak of Duke Energy’s blackouts, more than 45,000 homes and businesses were left in the dark.

That incident was followed by attacks on four power substations over Christmas weekend near Tacoma, Washington, when about 14,000 homes and businesses were forced to live without power, authorities said.

This is a developing story. Please check for updates.