Timeline Of Events Leading To Arrest Of OKC Bombing Plot Suspect

Tuesday, August 15th 2017, 12:09 am
By: News 9

The FBI arrested Jerry Drake Varnell, 23, after he allegedly tried to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb.

Varnell was arrested shortly after an attempt early Saturday morning, to detonate a fake bomb loaded into what he believed was a stolen van and parked outside of the Bancfirst in downtown Oklahoam City, according to court records.

He allegedly wanted to replicate the 1995 Oklahoma City Murrah Building bombing and was acting out of a hatred for the government.

According to the criminal complaint filed in federal court, Varnell acknowledged there could be "loss of life, even if unintentional" with any bomb plot.

The complaint indicated he did factor in the time of the attack to minimize the death toll.

On June 26, Varnell discussed the possibility that people could be killed and said, “You got to break a couple of eggs to make an omelet,’’ according to the complaint.

During a news conference Monday, Raul Bujanda FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge offered assurance to public safety  "this was always going to be controlled from beginning to end. There was never a risk to the American people."

The investigation began in Dec. 2016 when a confidential informant approached the FBI.

The informant claimed Varnell wanted to bomb the Federal Reserve Building in Washington D.C., according to court records.

Varnell allegedly exchanged multiple texts and Facebook messages via apps to protect the content from authorities. However, those messages and phone conversations were recorded by the FBI.

On April 24, 2017, Varnell allegedly met with the informant at his home in Sayre. He allegedly revealed a bunker near his home that was supplied with food and other items.

During the visit, the two allegedly discussed how to obtain large quantities of ammonium nitrate and the cost for such a purchase.

Several additional conversations occurred between the two and eventually an undercover agent was introduced to Varnell.

Varnell allegedly discussed a number of potential targets, including the Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building in Washington, D.C., an IRS building in Maryland and a Bank of America data center in Texas.

Eventually, he settled on the BancFirst building in Oklahoma City, according to records.

In mid-July, undercover agents indicated they met with Varnell to conduct surveillance of the target location.

On August 11, he drove from Sayre to meet with who he believed to be his accomplices.

Agents said Varnell watched the construction of the fake bomb around 6:30 p.m.

He drove the van containing the device to an alley adjacent to the Bancfirst building and parked it there, according to the FBI.

After midnight, he made two attempts to detonate the bomb remotely.

Shortly after those attempts, he was arrested.

Varnell had his first court appearance Monday afternoon.  If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine.