Two men arrested in attacks on Washington State power substations


Jan 3 (Reuters) - Two Washington State men have been arrested in connection with Christmas Day attacks on four power substations in the Tacoma area, federal authorities said Tuesday.

Matthew Greenwood and Jeremy Crahan were scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on charges of conspiracy to damage energy facilities and possession of unregistered firearms, the U.S. attorney's office said.

The two men were known to authorities, and had been under FBI surveillance for more than a month in late 2021 and early 2022, FBI special agent Mark Tucher said in an affidavit filed in federal court on Tuesday. The agent did not give reasons for that surveillance, but Tucher described himself in the affidavit as an expert in domestic terrorism assigned to the FBI Seattle division's joint terrorism task force.

According to Tucher's affidavit, investigators believe that the men cut fencing leading to four power stations in Pierce County, Washington operated by Puget Sound Energy and Tacoma Power.

They then tampered with the equipment, knocking out power to thousands of homes and businesses, the affidavit alleged. Greenwood and Crahan were arrested on Saturday, the affidavit said.

The Washington state power grid attacks came on the heels of similar incidents in other states.

In December, a utility in North Carolina reported outages from what local authorities said were orchestrated shootings now being investigated by federal law enforcement.

The FBI has also been investigating shots fired near a power facility in South Carolina days later.

Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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