Authorities in Houston charged a 25-year-old man on Monday with trying to blow up a Confederate statue, federal prosecutors said, in the latest development amid demonstrations and fierce debate about race and the legacy of America's Civil War, Reuters reported.
Word of the arrest of Andrew Schneck came just hours after the University of Texas at Austin said it removed four statues tied to the Confederacy from its campus because they had become "symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism."
White nationalists rallied earlier this month against proposals to take down a similar statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, and one woman was killed when a man crashed his car into a crowd of anti-racism counterprotesters.
The violence triggered the biggest domestic crisis yet for President Donald Trump, who provoked anger across the political spectrum for not immediately condemning white nationalists and for praising "very fine people" on both sides of the fight.
Federal prosecutors said in a statement that on Saturday night a park ranger spotted Schneck kneeling in bushes in front of the General Dowling Monument in Houston's Hermann Park.
In Schneck's possession were a timer, wires, duct tape and two types of explosive including nitroglycerin, according to the prosecutors who described it as one of the world's most powerful explosives. The items could have been used to make a viable explosive device, the prosecutors' statement said.
If convicted of trying to maliciously damage or destroy property receiving federal financial assistance, Schneck faces up to 40 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.