Package sent to Arpaio in Arizona could have injured, killed
PHOENIX — Arizona authorities say a package addressed to Sheriff Joe Arpaio discovered in a northern Arizona mailbox would have exploded if opened, leading to serious injuries or death.
Maricopa County Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan made the comment Friday at a news conference in Phoenix. He said investigators are trying to locate one person who may have been involved in mailing the package addressed to his boss.
The package intercepted late Thursday was addressed to Arpaio at his downtown Phoenix office. It had been left in a parcel locker that was part of a multiple address mailbox in a rural part of Coconino County, outside Flagstaff city limits.
U.S. Postal Inspection Service spokesman Keith Moore said a courier called his supervisor after noting it was suspicious, and the package was eventually brought into the main Post Office in Flagstaff. An X-ray showed what appeared to be bomb-like components, including wires and a container, and authorities used a water cannon to neutralize the package, Sheridan said.
Arpaio, the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America,” said this isn't the first time he's been threatened. Arpaio is known nationally for his strict treatment of jail inmates and cracking down on illegal immigration.
“Of course you worry. I'm a victim, I'm a witness. When you convict people, the victim has to be somewhat concerned. I'm a little concerned about my family,” Arpaio said at the news conference. “I didn't ask for all these threats.”
Postal Inspector Patricia Armstrong said authorities were alerted by a “very astute” carrier who observed “something suspicious” about the package.
Armstrong didn't elaborate on what raised suspicion, but Tom Mangan, a spokesman in Phoenix for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said initial reports indicated that the package was a box that might have been damaged in transit and leaked gunpowder.
Sheridan said the package contained black powder and an ignition device, although he wasn't sure if it was packed into a container and would have exploded or simply ignited in a flash fire. Either way, he said, it was very dangerous.
“Had someone opened that package, it would have caused a major explosion and caused serious physical injury, burns and maybe death,” Sheridan said. “That is a very, very serious threat.”
Authorities in Flagstaff, which is about 140 miles north of Phoenix, said they are pursuing leads.
Arpaio said he receives lots of packages, including ones with baked goods recently as he recuperated from a broken shoulder suffered when he fell crossing a street. He said he opens some of the packages personally.
“Hey, they send me cookies, now they send me bombs,” he said Friday. “It's a little different.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Gunfire kills 3 at party in vacant house in Omaha
- Arrest of N.Y. lawmaker latest in string of Albany legal troubles
- Fort Hood shooter flew under radar, Army says
- Sea otter conceived in wild born in California research center
- Marine Corps’ general outlines priorities, vision
- New York father kils 3 generations of family, himself
- Wind knocks out power in Los Angeles
- Police search finds no bombs on planes at Atlanta airport
- Mannequin on billboard in Iowa spurs calls to 911
- High-value detainees allowed family calls
- Congressional Republicans challenge Obama actions to curb pollution blamed for global warming