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Man arrested in connection to suspicious packages sent to military locations around DC

The FBI is investigating the packages, which contained “potential destructive devices.”

Jen Kirby is a senior foreign and national security reporter at Vox, where she covers global instability.

A least one person has been arrested in connection with multiple suspicious packages mailed to military and intelligence locations throughout the Washington, DC, area, the FBI confirmed Tuesday.

The FBI said Tuesday that authorities have arrested a 43-year-old Seattle, Washington area resident, Tranh Cong Phan, at his home, less than 24 hours after the packages were discovered at the sensitive government sites.

The FBI is currently examining all the packages, which contained “potential destructive devices.” All of the suspicious parcels were cleared by law enforcement, and no one was injured. It’s not clear whether any of the parcels contained working bombs or just had substances — or trappings to make it appear — as if the mailings were packed with explosives.

According to the FBI, suspicious packages were sent to the National Defense University at Fort McNair; Fort Belvoir in Virginia, where the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is headquartered; Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, DC; the CIA in Langley, Virginia; and Naval Surface Warfare Station in Dahlgren, Virginia.

According to CNN, the National Defense University at Fort McNair received a suspicious package Monday morning around 8:30 am. The parcel tested positive for black powder, a substance found in explosive devices, and an X-ray scan appeared to show a GPS locator and fuse attachment. The package was cleared, and “rendered safe,” Army spokesperson Michael L. Howard told CNN.

The FBI said it was possible that more strange packages might end up at mail processing facilities in the area. The US Postal Service is coordinating with the FBI on the investigation.

The FBI believes one person is responsible for all the mailings, though law enforcement hasn’t specified a motive. Tranh Cong Phan is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon in Washington state.

The timing of these strange mailings is definitely eerie, coming less than a week after the suspect in serial bombings in Austin blew himself up. The bomber sent explosive packages to areas in Texas’s capital in March, which left two people dead.

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