COLUMBUS, Ohio (WGHP) — Two men will spend years in prison and another will be committed to a hospital after being sentenced for plotting to attack the United States electrical grid in 2022, court documents show.

On Monday, Jonathan Frost was sentenced to 60 months in prison and Christopher Cook was sentenced to 92 months in prison, both for a count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Both men will be under supervision for 30 years after release.

Recommendations from the court requested that the Bureau of Prisons not incarcerate either Cook or Frost in a facility with “known white supremacist gang activity,” according to sentencing documents.

“In lieu of being sentenced to imprisonment” Jackson Sawall, a third conspirator, “has been committed to the custody of the Attorney General, who shall hospitalize the defendant for care or treatment in a suitable facility” due to a mental disorder, a provisional sentencing court document states.

The three men pleaded guilty to the plot to attack power substations in multiple states in February of 2022.

“These three defendants admitted to engaging in a disturbing plot, in furtherance of white supremacist ideology, to attack energy facilities in order to damage the economy and stoke division in our country,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew G. Olsen in a statement to the Justice Department.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker for the Southern District of Ohio said, “These defendants conspired to use violence to sow hate, create chaos, and endanger the safety of the American people.”

Assistant Director Timothy Langan of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division echoed those sentiments.

“The defendants in this case wanted to attack regional power substations and expected the damage would lead to economic distress and civil unrest,” Langan said. “These individuals wanted to carry out such a plot because of their adherence to racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist views. When individuals move from espousing particular views to planning or committing acts of violence the FBI will investigate and take action to stop their plans. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect our communities.”

According to the initial indictment, Frost and Cook met in 2019 in an online chat group. They then began recruiting people to join in their plan of attacking power infrastructure, circulating neo-Nazi books. Sawall, a friend of Cook’s, joined them in their planning.

Each was “assigned” a substation in different parts of the country, and they would attack those electrical substations or power grids with high-powered rifles. They discussed how this would cause enough unrest in the country or incite a race war or financial collapse.

Court documents show that the men had lists of specific substations, divided up by region, as well as an article detailing the shooting of a Metcalf, California, substation in 2013, which is a document that has circulated in neo-Nazi circles called “The Garden.”

Additionally, there is a redacted section titled “Materials requested by the Court on December 1, 2022,” that indicates multiple items, all of which were blacked out. However, court documents that were unsealed at the end of December show that an emergency bond revocation was filed for Cook and Sawall and a warrant was issued for Cook to be taken back into custody in the first week of December and electronics were seized from Cook on Dec. 5.

The indictment states that, while in Columbus together, they graffitied a bridge at an area park with a swastika and the words “Join the Front.”

Documents listing items seized from the men over the course of the investigation say that a swastika flag, thermite, grenade shells and an AR pistol with an unknown serial number were taken, along with numerous electronic correspondences on discord between the men.

Similar cases

A group of men, including former North Carolina Marines, are currently going through the Eastern North Carolina District Court after being arrested in connection with a similar plot in Boise, Idaho. One of the founders of the neo-Nazi group formerly known as the Atomwaffen Division, Brandon Russell, and his girlfriend have been charged with plotting an attack against the power grid in Baltimore, Maryland, with Russell being accused of sharing a YouTube video about the attack on Duke Energy substations in Moore County as part of the planning.

The Dec. 3, 2022, shooting of two Duke Energy substations in Moore County has not been connected to any suspects, groups or specific ideology. It is one of three separate incidents of substations being shot at in North Carolina over the span of a few short months with the first being on Nov. 11, 2022, in Jones County when 12,000 people lost power for a couple of hours after a Carteret-Craven Electrical Cooperative substation was shot at. Then, on Jan. 17, 2023, an EnergyUnited substation was shot in Randolph County, but no one lost power.

Two weeks after the Moore County shooting, at the beginning of Hannukah, a banner adorned with Nazi imagery advertising a Telegram channel for the “National Socialist Resistance Front” was unfurled on a highway overpass in Vass, and a second banner was found on Christmas in Cameron. The Telegram shown on the banner had numerous Nazi memes and graphics, including what appeared to be an image, posted just two days after the Jones County shooting, of a person’s silhouette in front of an electrical substation with the words “bring it all down,” a phrase that was also featured on the first banner.

The Moore County Sheriff’s Office said at the time that they were investigating these incidents separately.

The ADL has said that there has been a “disturbing” increase in the frequency of antisemitic incidents reported in North Carolina.