- (Photo: Reuters/Joshua Lott)
A Joe Arpaio bomb plot could have caused the self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff in America" serious harm, injuring or even killing him had it not been intercepted. The package was supposed to make it onto the Phoenix, Ariz. lawman's desk Thursday, but officials found something particularly "suspicious" about the parcel.
The bomb addressed to Joe Arpaio was left in a parcel locker in a rural part of Coconino County, according to CBS News. Fortunately for the sheriff, a "very astute" carrier noticed "something suspicious" about the package, Postal Inspector Patricia Armstrong told reporters— gunpowder was leaking from it, which could have been caused by damage from transportation.
"Had someone opened that package, it would have cause a major explosion and caused serious physical injuries, burns and maybe death," Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jerry Sheridan said at a press conference Friday. "That was a very serious threat, it was labeled to come here to this building and be opened by Sheriff Arpaio."
The bomb never made it, however, as the courier alerted authorities. The police department bomb squad verified that an explosive device was inside the package by using an X-ray. They then used a water cannon to destroy the bomb without any injuries occurring.
Arpaio is very tough on illegal immigration in his home state, and has been accused of racial profiling Latino citizens. He has also garnered controversy recently for dispatching armed guards to schools in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, and for failing to adequately investigate over 400 sex-crime cases. Despite the bomb plots, numerous death threats, and legal problems, he said he has no intention of retiring.
"I'm not leaving this office no matter what they do, what they say, I'm staying," Arpaio said. "That's my message to all these people who don't like this sheriff." He elaborated on his statement, saying it isn't the first time he's been threatened because of his controversial tactics.
"That's the nature of the business," Arpaio continued, citing the murder of two prosecutors in Texas and other lawmen around the country. "I'm not going to be intimidated by anyone, that's a promise."
Local law enforcement is working with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to pursue leads and potential suspects in the case.