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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

Thursday, December 21, 2017

East Bay Man Charged With United States Postal Service Mail Bombing

SAN FRANCISCO – A complaint has been filed in federal court charging Ross Gordon Laverty with mailing an explosive device with the intent to injure or kill, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch, U.S. Postal Inspection Service Inspector in Charge Rafael Nuñez, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Jill Snyder, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. 

According to the complaint unsealed this morning, Laverty, 56, of Oakland, mailed at least one explosive device.  The charge is based upon a bombing incident that occurred in October of this year.  

The complaint alleges that on October 11, 2017, a package containing an improvised explosive device was delivered to an address in East Palo Alto, Calif.  The addressee became suspicious of the package and initially decided not to open it.  Nevertheless, on October 19, the victim carried the package outside of his home and opened it in his back yard, causing it to detonate and injure the victim. 

The criminal complaint charges Laverty with one count of mailing an explosive devise with the intent to injure or kill, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1716(j)(2).  Laverty made his initial appearance and was arraigned on the charge this morning in San Francisco before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero.  Magistrate Judge Spero scheduled a detention hearing for December 28, 2017.

A complaint merely alleges that a crime has been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  If convicted of the charge, Laverty faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000.   A term of supervised release and restitution may be ordered upon conviction.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with assistance from the ATF and the FBI.

Updated December 21, 2017