Courtroom sketch of Thanh Cong Phan
WASHINGTON - A man has been arrested near Seattle after authorities said he sent suspicious packages containing explosive materials to military bases in the DC area.
The FBI announced 43-year-old Thanh Cong Phan was taken into custody at his home in Everett, Washington on Monday without incident by agents with the FBI's Seattle office and deputies with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
Phan is accused of sending more than a dozen packages by mail to several government agencies in the D.C. area, which include the U.S. Secret Service White House Mail Screening Facility, FBI headquarters in Baltimore, the National Geospatial Agency, the National Defense University at Fort Belvoir, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Fort Lesley McNair, the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia and CIA offices in Langley, Virginia.
None of the packages have exploded or caused any injuries, officials said.
"Each package contained a typed written letter with ramblings about neuropsychology, mind control, and other subjects including terrorism," court documents read. "Each package also contained what appeared to be a homemade explosive device: a glass vial/bottle containing an unknown black substance with a fuse, and a small black Global Positioning System (GPS) device."
"Phan became a suspect in the case when a U.S. Postal Service inspector traced the tracking information on one of the packages to the Mill Creek, Washington post office self-service kiosk," the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release. "Surveillance photos from the time of the mailing appeared to show Phan. Writings contained in the package were also similar to previous correspondence from Phan to various government agencies. Phan had been known to police previously because of the writings, and due to frequent contact with the 9-1-1 emergency dispatch system."
Court documents say Phan has sent hundreds of letters and emails to various government agencies in the past three years.
Phan made his initial appearance in federal court in Seattle on Tuesday. He is facing charges of shipping of explosive materials, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Federal authorities said they feared more packages could have been mailed to processing facilities in the DC area and are working to locate and isolate all of the packages. The FBI warned the public to remain vigilant and to not touch, move or handle any suspicious or unknown packages.
The packages were sent in the wake of the Austin package bombings that left two people dead and many more injured. The bomber, 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt, died after blowing himself up as police closed in on him.
These incidents also come after 11 people were sickened when an envelope containing an unknown substance was opened inside a building at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia in February.
Nearly two weeks ago, 16 employees were evaluated at the D.C. Department of Corrections after being exposed to a substance in a package received in the mailroom. The substance was first thought to be fentanyl, but fire officials later determined it was synthetic cannabinoid.
The Associated Press and Fox News contributed to this report.