A suspicious package addressed to California Senator Kamala Harris was intercepted Friday morning in Sacramento, Senator Harris’s office confirmed to CBS13. The package is similar to 13 others addressed to other elected officials and political figures this week.
Sen. Kamala Harris’ office said Oct. 26 that authorities in Sacramento, California, are investigating a suspicious package mailed to her. The office of the Indian American U.S. senator says the package was similar to those that have been sent to other prominent Democrats.
The senator’s office says it was informed that the package was identified at a Sacramento mail facility. The FBI responded to the facility in a South Sacramento neighborhood that’s been blocked off by caution tape.
News of the package comes as authorities arrested a Florida man suspected of sending more than 10 mail bombs in recent days. Harris is a Democrat serving her first term in the U.S. Senate.
“Our understanding is a trained postal employee identified the package at a Sacramento mail facility and reported it to the authorities,” a statement from Sen. Harris’ office read. A heavy law enforcement presence, including FBI, US Postal Inspector, postal police, and the sheriff’s department personnel was visible at the facility throughout the morning. Firefighters from Sacramento Metro Fire Department also responded to the report. CNN first reported the incident.
FBI special agents have arrested Cesar Altieri Sayoc, 56, in connection with the packages. Federal officials say these were “improvised explosive devices” made with PVC pipe, clocks, batteries, wiring, and explosive material. None of the bombs detonated.
The Sacramento Sheriff’s office says the package addressed to Harris resembled the other suspicious packages sent this week. A postal employee at a Sacramento mail facility identified the package and reported it to authorities. No one was injured.
Justice Department officials revealed that a latent fingerprint found on one package helped them identify their suspect as Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida. The criminal complaint charges Sayoc with illegally mailing explosives, illegally transporting explosives across state lines, making threats against former presidents, assaulting federal officers and threatening interstate commerce.
Court records show Sayoc, an amateur body builder with social media accounts that denigrate Democrats and praise Trump, has a history of arrests for theft, illegal steroids possession and a 2002 charge of making a bomb threat.
The development came amid a nationwide manhunt for the person responsible for at least 13 explosive devices addressed to prominent Democrats including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. The case continued widening Oct. 26 even as Sayoc was detained.
In Washington, Attorney General Jeff Sessions cautioned that Sayoc had only been charged, not convicted. But he said, “Let this be a lesson to anyone regardless of their political beliefs that we will bring the full force of law against anyone who attempts to use threats, intimidation and outright violence to further an agenda. We will find you, we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”
In Florida, law enforcement officers were seen on television examining a white van, its windows covered with an assortment of stickers, outside the Plantation auto parts store. Authorities covered the vehicle with a blue tarp and took it away on the back of a flatbed truck.
The stickers included images of Trump, American flags and what appeared to be logos of the Republican National Committee and CNN, though the writing surrounding those images was unclear.
Trump, while calling to take strict actions against political violence, complained that “this ‘bomb’ stuff” was taking attention away from the upcoming election and said critics were wrongly blaming him and his heated rhetoric.
Law enforcement officials said they had intercepted a dozen packages in states across the country. None had exploded, and it wasn’t immediately clear if they were intended to cause physical harm or simply sow fear and anxiety.
Earlier in the day, authorities said suspicious packages addressed to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former National Intelligence Director James Clapper — both similar to those containing pipe bombs sent to other prominent critics of Trump— had been intercepted.
Investigators believe the mailings were staggered. The U.S. Postal Service searched their facilities 48 hours ago and the most recent packages didn’t turn up. Officials don’t think they were sitting in the system without being spotted. They were working to determine for sure. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.
Online court records show that Sayoc in 2002 was arrested and served a year of probation for a felony charge of threatening to throw or place a bomb. No further details were available about the case.
Most of those targeted were past or present U.S. officials, but one was sent to actor Robert De Niro and billionaire George Soros. The bombs have been sent across the country – from New York, Delaware and Washington, D.C., to Florida and California, where Rep. Maxine Waters was targeted. They bore the return address of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
The common thread among the bomb targets was obvious: their critical words for Trump and his frequent, harsher criticism in return.