An Arkansas man arrested by FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force agents on Friday and formally charged the next day with several counts of sabotaging power grids is scheduled to appear in federal court on Tuesday.
According to the U.S Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Jason Woodring is scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court on Tuesday.
The Lonoke County Sheriff's office received several complaints on Friday about an explosion on John Shelton Road in Jacksonville, near the home of the suspect.
Jason Woodring, 37, of Jacksonville, Arkansas was arrested at his residence on October 12, one day after an explosion was reported near tthe suspects home, and charged with destruction of an energy facilty.
According to court documents, FBI Special Agent Dixon A. Land [PDF] testified that Woodring admitted responsibility for an August case and for two other incidents where parts of the power grid where sabotaged.
Armed with a search warrant, FBI agents and members of the JTTF found evidence connecting Woodring to sabotaging the parts of the electric grid on three separate occasions. In addition, Lonoke County Sherrif's deputies said they also found a meth lab inside his home.
"We're glad he's in custody. When you have something like this, it affects the whole community," Lt. James Kulesa said.
Two other cases Woodring is a suspect in are from October 6th when 9000 customers lost power and on August 21st when power lines were cut down and stretched across train tracks.
A Homeland Security NTARC News report on October 8, four days prior to Woodring's arrest, the FBI suspected recent attacks were linked to another incident in September.
"In the early morning hours of September 29, 2013, officials with Entergy Arkansas reported a fire at its Keo substation located on Arkansas Highway 165 between Scott and England in Lonoke County. Fortunately, there were no injuries and no reported power outages. An investigation has determined that the fire, which consumed the control house at the substation, was intentionally set. The person or persons responsible for this incident inscribed a message on a metal control panel outside the substation which reads, "YOU SHOULD HAVE EXPECTED U.S."
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Chris Thyer issued a statement on Saturday that read in part:
"The citizens of central Arkansas can rest a bit easier today with the arrest of Jason Woodring. The power grid attacks had the potential to put many lives at risk."
No further information has been released regarding Woodring's Tuesday's court apperance. The DOJ website states:
"Due to the lapse in government funding, the websites and social media channels for the United States Attorneys offices will not be updated until appropriations are enacted. Please refer to the Department of Justice's contingency plan for more information."
Outgoing U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano issued an ‘open letter’ to her successor warning that a cyber or physical event that knocks out the power grid will occur – and it is not a question of “if” but “when.”
If convicted, Woodring faces at least 20 years in jail, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.