Mail Bomb Suspect Arrested and Charged in South Florida
October 29, 2018
After a brief nationwide hunt, an Aventura man was arrested in Plantation for the attempted bombing attacks on prominent Democrats around the US. He is suspected to be responsible for the fourteen suspicious and possibly explosive packages sent to various Democratic US Senators and Representatives, donors, and former government officials this week. The suspect has been charged with five federal crimes, according to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He is set to appear before a federal magistrate Monday.
The 56-year-old suspect was arrested in Plantation, Florida on Friday. Law enforcement officials reported that FBI agents used flash bangs to arrest the suspect, who was initially cooperative. A white van, plastered with stickers expressing support for President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, was towed Friday to Miramar, Florida, where an FBI field office is located. An official said the suspect had been kicked out of his parents’ home and was living in the van. Investigators suspect he was making mail bombs inside the van, two law enforcement sources said, after finding soldering equipment, stamps, envelopes, paper, a printer, and an unknown powder.
All fourteen packages, described by the FBI as “potentially explosive devices”, were intercepted without detonating or causing any injuries. In fact, it remains unclear whether the devices are potentially dangerous. Speaking at a news conference Friday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said, “Though we are still analyzing the devices in our laboratory, these are not hoax devices.”
Anthony May, a retired ATF explosives investigator, told CNN that the devices “appeared to be missing a crucial component for a functioning explosive device.” Despite the presence of potential explosives, May said that it did not seem like there was “enough means to initiate this device” even accidentally.
The attempted bombings have been described by numerous government leaders as an act of terrorism. President Trump told supporters Friday that the bomber will be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law.”
“We must never allow political violence to take root in America,” Trump said in his first remarks since the suspected bomber was apprehended. Speaking with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House Friday, the president added that “there is no blame” to be placed on his campaign for the bomber’s actions.
Former Intelligence Director James Clapper, the intended recipient of one of the packages intercepted Friday, was not surprised he was targeted by the mail bomber. “This is definitely domestic terrorism,” he said.