TYLER, Texas — A man accused of dropping more than 30 explosive devices into mailboxes and other locations across east Texas did so out of anger toward the government and was acting alone, federal authorities said yesterday.
Larry Eugene North was indicted Wednesday on charges of possessing an illegal firearm or destructive device. He could face 10 years in prison if convicted.
Authorities believe North is responsible for planting 36 devices between Feb. 5 and Wednesday, said Robert R. Champion, an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Authorities previously said they had found at least 16 explosive devices, including five pipe bombs.
“These devices, over 30 in number, have caused fear in this community nothing short of domestic terrorism,’’ prosecutor Brit Featherston said. “Today that fear stops.’’
North had been under surveillance for about a week before he was arrested Wednesday while placing an explosive in a mailbox, authorities said. A pipe bomb was found in the van he was driving, and bomb-making materials were discovered in his home, they said.
No injuries or explosions resulted from the devices. At least half were found in mailboxes, while others were in assorted locations such as the front yard of a business and in a cemetery, officials said. The spate of discoveries kept people on edge for weeks in east Texas.
North, 52, of Henderson, remained jailed after a brief hearing in federal court during which a judge granted a request by Ken Hawk, the court-appointed defense attorney, for a mental competency exam.
Champion said North’s apparent anger with the government stems from a court dispute, but he didn’t have any details.