Washington: The Chicago Police have arrested three individuals on charges of allegedly plotting terrorist attacks during the NATO Summit in the city, which begins on Sunday.
The three individuals were also planning to attack the headquarters of the Obama Campaign in Chicago, the home of Chicago Mayor Ram Emanuel and police stations, authorities said.
The three men -- Brian Church (22) from Florida, Jared Chase (27) from New Hampshire and Brent Betterly (24) who told police that he is from Massachusetts, were produced before a court yesterday. An Illinois judge set bails for each of the three suspect of USD 1.5 million.
The three were charged with material support for terrorism; conspiracy to commit terrorism; and possession of explosives or explosive or incendiary devices.
According to prosecutors, the investigation began in early May, and revealed that the defendants are self-proclaimed anarchists, and members of the "Black Bloc" group, who travelled together from Florida to the Chicago area in preparation for committing terrorist acts of violence and destruction directed against different targets in protest to the NATO Summit.
Specifically, according to prosecutors, plans were made to destroy police cars and attack four Chicago Police district stations with destructive devices, in an effort to undermine the police response to the conspirators` other planned actions for the NATO Summit.
During the investigation, defendant Church stated he wanted to recruit four proposed targets which also included the Campaign Headquarters of President Obama, the home of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and certain downtown financial institutions.
As part of their efforts, they possessed and/or constructed improvised explosive-incendiary devices and various types of dangerous weapons including a mortar gun, swords, a hunting bow, throwing stars, and knives with brass-knuckle handles.
"The information and evidence recovered in this investigation clearly demonstrates that these defendants were equipped and prepared to carry out violent acts to disrupt the NATO Summit," said the State`s Attorney Alvarez.
According to The Chicago Tribune, the men`s attorney, Michael Deutsch, accused authorities of entrapment and suggested police targeted them because of their anti-establishment views.
The trio was also in a car that was stopped by police a week ago, leading to a YouTube video of the stop that has prompted protesters to complain Chicago police were harassing the car`s occupants, the daily said.
"What we believe is this is a way to stir up prejudice against people exercising their First Amendment rights," Deutsch added.