Suspect arrested in Florida over explosive packages

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON

Authorities made an arrest Friday in connection to packages mailed to leading Democrats and critics of U.S. President Donald Trump, the Department of Justice confirmed.

“We can confirm one person is in custody. We will hold a press conference at the Department of Justice at 2:30pm ET,” agency spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores wrote on Twitter.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker became the latest political figure to have been sent a package containing an explosive device Friday.

“The #FBI has confirmed an 11th package has been recovered in Florida, similar in appearance to the others, addressed to Sen. Cory Booker,” the FBI said on Twitter.

It was the second package discovered Friday with another one addressed to former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, according to reports.

Authorities have so far intercepted 12 total packages sent to 10 political figures and others.

Trump took to Twitter to call out the media’s coverage of the devices, changing his tone from earlier in the week when he initially called for the country to unify.

“Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this ‘Bomb’ stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows – news not talking politics,” he wrote. “Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!”

The FBI said all packages have the same return address of Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. 

The arrest was made in Florida.

“This investigation is of the highest priority for the FBI. We have committed the full strength of the FBI’s resources and, together with our partners on our Joint Terrorism Task Forces, we will continue to work to identify and arrest whoever is responsible for sending these packages,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement.

Similar packages were sent to billionaire philanthropist George Soros, former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder, congresswoman Maxine Waters, former CIA director John Brennan, former Vice President Joe Biden and actor Robert de Niro.

The packages have been sent for further analysis to the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia.

A senior FBI official likened the packages to domestic terrorism.

“The utilization of violence in order to further one’s own political agenda is unacceptable,” said FBI Special Agent Bryan Paarmann.


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