3 arrested outside Effingham power plant

By Christy Hutchings - bio | email

EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - What were three eastern Europeans doing hanging around an Effingham power plant in the middle of the night? Authorities said they had a machete, bolt cutters and masks.

It happened early Sunday morning in eastern Effingham County, just off the Savannah River, near Old Augusta and Ebenezer road at Plant McIntosh.

Deputies were called out to the plant because of a suspicious SUV parked there. When they arrived, they found three men sitting inside: Evgeniy Luzhetskiy of Kazakhstan, Rustem Ibragimor of Russia, and Nail Idiatullin of Russia.

As the deputy looked around he noticed a ski mask, bolt cutters, a shovel and a machete, and the three men's story wasn't making sense. Deputies took the men into custody. Immediately the sheriff's office contacted the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Det. David Ehsanipoor with the Effingham County Sheriff's Office said, "We weren't going to take any chances and we were going to err on the side of caution. Just to make sure this was not some kind of terrorism and make sure they weren't involved in a bigger plot."

Federal agents interviewed the men, but determined they were not a threat. They were here legally on visas and were released from jail.

There are still a lot of questions about what they were doing there in the first place. They told deputies they were lost. They supposedly live in Charleston, but their visas expire soon.

They went back to Charleston after deputies released them.

Copyright 2010 WTOC. All rights reserved.