WASHINGTON – Two new suspicious packages targeting Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris and billionaire political activist Tom Steyer — both Democrats — have been recovered even as federal officials arrested a Florida man accused of sending pipe bombs to critics of President Donald Trump.
These packages put the total number of devices found in the US by law enforcement officials to 14. None have detonated, but all have pushed officials onto high alert as they worry about additional devices being delivered.
Law enforcement authorities on Friday rushed to investigate one package addressed to Harris, the first Indian-American to serve in the Senate, that was discovered by a postal employee in Sacramento.
Harris, a potential contender in the 2020 presidential race, has been a vocal critic of Trump like the others who have been targeted earlier this week.
Another package was addressed to Steyer, a major Democratic donor, and was found at a post office in Burlingame, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Our office was informed that a suspicious package was addressed to the senator similar to those that have been sent to other elected officials,” Harris’ spokeswoman Lily Adams said.
Sacramento County sheriff’s officials said the Harris package contained a legitimate explosive device, similar to those sent earlier in the week to high-profile political targets. The FBI later said its bomb technicians rendered the package safe.
Investigators also were examining another package addressed to Steyer, who has previously advocated Trump’s impeachment.
On Friday, Florida man Cesar Altieri Sayoc was detained in connection with the spate of suspicious, potentially explosive devices sent to prominent critics of Trump earlier this week.
Trump said that the suspect would face “swift and certain justice”, while urging Americans to “unify” against these “despicable” acts.
The arrest came after 12 people received suspicious packages containing suspected explosives in the last few days, including former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The other two packages, intercepted on Friday in Florida and New York, were addressed to Democratic Senator Cory Booker and to former National Intelligence Director James Clapper.
The discovery of suspicious packages containing suspected explosives began on Monday, when billionaire philanthropist George Soros, a known Democratic donor, received one at his home in the state of New York.
The episode comes less than two weeks ahead of the November 6 mid-term congressional elections.