A Civil War reenactor, Gerald Leonard Drake, devised a plan to plant a pipe bomb at a Virginia battlefield in 2017 and falsely blame Antifa in letters that he wrote, but that backfired. Drake, 63, of Winchester, pleaded guilty to possessing an unregistered explosive device and stalking.
The Associated Press reports:
Drake admitted during a hearing Monday in federal court in Harrisonburg that he planted a pipe bomb at Cedar Creek Battlefield during an annual reenactment in October 2017. The bomb did not detonate, but it resulted in cancellation of the reenactment after its discovery.
Drake was a Civil War reenactor who regularly participated in events at Cedar Creek until he was expelled from his unit in 2014.
He also admitted writing letters in 2017 and 2018 in which he falsely portrayed himself as part of a group of Antifa activists who were targeting the reenactments because they believed them to glorify slavery. The letters threatened violence at subsequent Cedar Creek reenactments as well as an annual Remembrance Day Parade in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
“Our highest priority at the Department of Justice is to keep our nation safe. This defendant sought to intimidate and harm innocent people, and further, he tried to sow discontent by falsely claiming that the attempted bombing was politically motivated,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said. “I am deeply grateful to the first responders for their work to quickly neutralize the bomb, as well as the special agents of the FBI and the federal prosecutors who – for years – tirelessly worked this case to identify Mr. Drake and bring him to justice.”
Drake faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Man Pleads Guilty To Planting Pipe Bomb, Blaming Antifa
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