Federal authorities took a man into custody Friday in Florida in connection with the mail-bomb scare that earlier widened to 12 suspicious packages, the Justice Department said.
Law enforcement officers were seen on television examining a white van, its windows covered with an assortment of stickers, in the city of Plantation in the Miami area. Authorities covered the vehicle with a blue tarp and took it away on the back of a flatbed truck.
The man was in his 50s, a law enforcement official said, but his name and any charges he might face were not immediately known.
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The stickers on the man’s van included images of American flags and what appeared to be logos of the Republican National Committee and CNN, though the writing surrounding those images was unclear.
President Donald Trump said he expected to speak about the investigation at a youth summit on Friday.
The development came amid a coast-to-coast manhunt for the person responsible for a series of explosive devices addressed to Democrats including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Law enforcement officials said they had intercepted a dozen packages in states across the country. None had exploded, and it wasn’t immediately clear if they were intended to cause physical harm or simply sow fear and anxiety.
Earlier Friday, authorities said suspicious packages addressed to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former National Intelligence Director James Clapper — both similar to those containing pipe bombs sent to other prominent Democrats— had been intercepted.
Investigators believe the mailings were staggered. The U.S. Postal Service searched their facilities 48 hours ago and the most recent packages didn’t turn up. Officials don’t think they were sitting in the system without being spotted. They were working to determine for sure.
The FBI said the package to Booker was intercepted in Florida. The one discovered at a Manhattan postal facility was addressed to Clapper at CNN’s address. An earlier package had been sent to former Obama CIA Director John Brennan via CNN in New York.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday the Justice Department was dedicating every available resource to the investigation “and I can tell you this: We will find the person or persons responsible. We will bring them to justice.”
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Investigators were analyzing the innards of the crude devices to reveal whether they were intended to detonate or simply sow fear just before Election Day.
Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that the devices, containing timers and batteries, were not rigged to explode upon opening. But they were uncertain whether the devices were poorly designed or never intended to cause physical harm.
Most of those targeted were past or present U.S. officials, but one was sent to actor Robert De Niro and billionaire George Soros.
The bombs have been sent across the country – from New York, Delaware and Washington, D.C., to Florida and California, where Rep. Maxine Waters was targeted. They bore the return address of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
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The package to Clapper was addressed to him at CNN’s Midtown Manhattan address. Clapper told CNN that he was not surprised he was targeted and that he considered the actions “definitely domestic terrorism.”
Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, said in a note to staff that all mail to CNN domestic offices was being screened at off-site facilities. He said there was no imminent danger to the Time Warner Center, where CNN’s New York office is located.
At a press conference Thursday, officials in New York would not discuss possible motives or details on how the packages found their way into the postal system. Nor would they say why the packages hadn’t detonated, but they stressed they were still treating them as “live devices.”
The devices were packaged in manila envelopes and carried U.S. postage stamps. They were being examined by technicians at the FBI’s forensic lab in Quantico, Virginia.
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The packages stoked nationwide tensions ahead of the Nov. 6 election to determine control of Congress — a campaign both major political parties have described in near-apocalyptic terms.
The bombs are about 6 inches (15 centimeters) long and packed with powder and broken glass, according to a law enforcement official who viewed X-ray images. The official said the devices were made from PVC pipe and covered with black tape.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.