FBI: Man Suspected of Sending Packages to Military Bases Has No Known Terror Link
(VOA): The FBI said Tuesday that a man arrested on charges of sending a string of suspicious packages to U.S. military and intelligence installations in the Washington, D.C., area had no known connection to terrorism. The suspect, Thanh Cong Phan, 43, was taken into custody at his house in Everett, Washington, late Monday, the FBI said in a statement. Phan's motive has not been determined, but "at this time, there is no known nexus to any terrorist organization or ideology," Ayn Dietrich, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Seattle Field Office, told VOA. In the statement, the FBI said the packages contained "potential destructive devices" and appeared to have been sent by the same person from the Seattle area. More than a half dozen packages were shipped to several bases, including Fort McNair in the nation's capital and Fort Belvoir in northern Virginia — both U.S. Army bases. Packages were also delivered to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, a military base in Washington; the Naval Surface Warfare Center in northern Virginia; and the Central Intelligence Agency, also in northern Virginia. The FBI warned that "it is possible that further packages were mailed to additional mail processing facilities" in the Washington, D.C., area. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said all of the packages were under the control of federal authorities. "Basically, there's a set procedure. They went through the procedure," he said. "We've had nobody injured, and all those packages and all the evidence is accessible and in the hands of the FBI right now." Austin bombings The packages were sent to the Washington area days after a string of deadly bombings in Austin, Texas, killed two people and wounded four others. The suspected bomber in Texas, Mark Conditt, killed himself as police approached him while he was in his vehicle. Court records show that Phan has had a couple of run-ins with law enforcement dating back to his teen years. In 1990, Phan, then 15, was convicted of second-degree assault, according to court documents. In 2011, he was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm after police visited his home in South Everett, Washington, in response to a mental health call, according to an affidavit filed with a Washington state court. "The defendant made some bizarre statements to them, which gave the deputies concern about the defendant's mental health and safety," according to the affidavit. While taking him into protective custody, sheriff's deputies discovered that Phan was armed with a loaded .357-caliber handgun. The deputies committed him to a mental health facility at a local hospital. Police later learned about Phan's assault conviction, which made it illegal for him to possess firearms. The firearms violation case against Phan was dismissed in 2015.
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Published Date: Wednesday, March 28th, 2018 | 12:45 PM