A suspected Antifa activist was found with a pipe bomb and a plan for "direct action" near the January 6 event.
A guy suspected of being an Antifa member was arrested with a homemade pipe bomb and a detailed "direct action" plan near a Florida anniversary demonstration on January 6, authorities said.
Garrett James Smith, who turned 22 on Thursday, was arrested during a rally in support of an Oath Keepers member who is being jailed on riot charges in the Capitol, where a local congressman joined more than 80 others.
When Smith suddenly ran away from the demonstration outside Pinellas County Jail, local Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said in a press conference, officers after him. Smith was "stuck out" in all black, including a ski mask.
Police discovered a makeshift pipe bomb in his backpack, which the sheriff said "had the potential to be very dangerous," according to NBC News.
It was "extremely devastating, and he might have hurt a lot of people," Gualtieri stated, adding that he was certain Smith had been "prepared" to set off the device before he escaped.
Police discovered a "direct action checklist" with a list of the armory items they required to deal with the bomber, according to the sheriff.
Antifa's "Iron Front" logo, three red arrows in a circle, was on Smith's black helmet, according to the sheriff. For the past few months, the suspect had been living in the turbulent city of Portland, Oregon, where nightly rioting by the left-wing militant group took place.
According to Gualtieri, a search of Smith's parents' adjacent home turned up a second pipe bomb, as well as hand grenade-style explosives, nails, and duct tape.
While the 22-year-old suspect had no criminal record, detectives were unable to locate any social media background for him.
As Gualtieri said to the media, "Smith is what we term a sleeper, and this is the most frightening individual because there are no opportunities to intervene and impede their illegal behavior before they really act."
When asked about his social media presence, he responded "absolutely nothing out there" and called it "very strange."
Deputies have "no idea about Smith's political leanings" since he "refused to disclose any information and refused to speak with deputies," the sheriff claimed.
Anti-government extremists have been classified as "Antifa/Anti-government/Extrem." in court documents, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Smith, however, has been described as "Antifa/Anti-government/Extrem." in court documents.
Smith was labeled as a "leftist terrorist" by Florida Representative Anthony Sabatini, who spoke during the gathering.
Tweeted that he was "a terrorist from Antifa who attempted to blow up the rally I spoke at with a pipebomb."
He claimed that the suspect was "dressed to the nines," ready to detonate the bomb, and that "something stopped him."
In other words, he was ready to go: "He had his equipment, and he had his plan." How was he going to pull it off?" "I don't know," he replied.
Smith was charged with creating and having a harmful device, as well as loitering, and was taken into custody. He is being held on $300,000 bail. It's not known if he's been represented by an attorney who could speak to the allegations against him.
The Oath Keepers' Jeremy Brown, a former special forces soldier who was seen in tactical gear outside the Capitol on January 6 of last year, was the subject of the rally.
A sawed-off shotgun, a short-barrel rifle, hand grenades, and more than 8,000 rounds of ammunition were seized during a search of Brown's home, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
According to the newspaper, his supporters, on the other hand, insist that he is a political prisoner.