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Man who plotted to BLOW UP Oklahoma City bank with 1,000-pound bomb sentenced to 25 years in prison

Man who plotted to BLOW UP Oklahoma City bank using a 1,000-pound ammonium nitrate bomb in retaliation for losing ‘freedom’ is sentenced to 25 years in prison

  • Jerry Drake Varnell, 26, was sentenced to 25 years in prison after he plotted to blow up the BancFirst in Oklahoma City in 2017
  • He planned to use a 1,000-pound ammonium nitrate bomb to destroy the bank
  • Varnell and Brent Allen Elisens shared conspiracy theories online about government corruption
  • Elisens was then paid $23,000 by the FBI to set Varnell up with an undercover agent who claimed to have bombing making materials
  •  Varnell and the undercover agent went to work building a 1,000-pound bomb supposedly made of ammonium nitrate, blasting caps, and nitrate
  • Varnell drove the van to BancFirst in Oklahoma City, parked it, and attempted to detonate the inert bomb using a burner cell phone 
  • The cell phone instead called law enforcement and Varnell was arrested 

An Oklahoma man who hatched a plot to blow up a bank in downtown Oklahoma City using a 1,000 bomb was sentenced on Tuesday to 25 years in prison.

Jerry Drake Varnell, 26, was convicted of attempting to use an explosive device to damage a building used in interstate commerce and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against property used in interstate commerce.

In 2017, the FBI arrested Varnell when he attempted to ignite what he thought was a 1,000 ammonium nitrate bomb in van parked in an alley next to BancFirst. 

The explosives, however, weren’t real and didn’t pose a threat to anyone in the area.

Jerry Drake Varnell, 26, was sentenced to 25 years in prison after attempting to detonate a bomb next to BancFirst in Oklahoma City

Jerry Drake Varnell, 26, was sentenced to 25 years in prison after attempting to detonate a bomb next to BancFirst in Oklahoma City

After months of planning, Varnell and the undercover agent drove to El Reno, Oklahoma to build what Varnell thought was a 1,000-pound bomb made of ammonium nitrate, blasting caps, and nitrate.

After months of planning, Varnell and the undercover agent drove to El Reno, Oklahoma to build what Varnell thought was a 1,000-pound bomb made of ammonium nitrate, blasting caps, and nitrate.

Varnell wanted to blow up BancFirst (pictured) with a 1,000-pound ammonium nitrate bomb

Varnell wanted to blow up BancFirst (pictured) with a 1,000-pound ammonium nitrate bomb

The FBI honed in on Varnell after receiving a tip that he originally wanted to blow up the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C. with a bomb that resembled the kind used during the 1998 Oklahoma City bombing.

‘Because an individual chose to come forward and report Mr. Varnell’s concerning language and conduct to the FBI, we were able to quickly address the threat and keep our community safe,’ a statement on the Oklahoma City FBI website read.    

After Varnell connected with a man named Brent Allen Elisens and shared conspiracy theories of the government taking away individual freedom, the two agreed to live off the radar. Then Varnell switched plans, opting to commit a violent act against the federal government. 

Elisens then received $23,000 from the FBI to set Varnell up with an undercover agent known as ‘The Professor, who claimed to have bomb-making materials.

After months of planning, Varnell and the undercover agent drove to El Reno, Oklahoma to build what Varnell thought was a 1,000-pound bomb made of ammonium nitrate, blasting caps, and nitrate.

After parking the bomb-filled van next to the bank, he walked away from it. Then he called a number on a burner phone that he thought would remotely detonate the bomb. Instead, the number called to law enforcement, who arrested Varnell moments later. 

During the trial, a his defense attorney argued that the FBI ensnared Varnell into the plot and that he suffered schizophrenia. His lawyer also said Varnell was supplied with bomb-making materials by the FBI.

‘It was far from only me that this crime was committed,’ Varnell said, according to the Oklahoman

While giving a statement in court, Varnell also called the FBI informant Elisen a ‘psychopath’ and said Elisen ‘normalized’ antigovernment ideas.

‘Let me be clear, this was not a case of misconstrued online activity or innocent online chatter,’ the Oklahoma City FBI website read. Mr. Varnell is considered a domestic terrorist in the eyes of the FBI based on his actions, views, and involvement in anti-government extremism.’  

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Written by Angle News

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