Suspect in Amarillo Explosion Charged with Possession of Destructive Device
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas
The man suspected of causing an explosion at his residence in Amarillo, Texas on Monday has been federally charged, announced Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Prerak Shah.
Erfan Salmanzadeh, a 32-year-old naturalized citizen of the U.S. born in Iran, was charged via criminal complaint on Friday with one count of possession of a destructive device. (He has also been charged by the state with possession of components of explosives.)
“Mr. Salmanzadeh had absolutely no business handling unregistered destructive devices. We believe this defendant is a danger to the community and must be kept behind bars,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah.
“The FBI is committed to protecting our communities from harm and working with our law enforcement partners to disrupt violent activity. This defendant allegedly possessed a device with the potential to cause significant damage or injury to innocent people,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno. “We want to thank the Amarillo Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, and Homeland Security Investigations for their tireless assistance in this investigation.”
Following the explosion Monday afternoon, officers discovered explosive components in Mr. Salmanzadeh’s residence, his backyard, and the alleyway behind his home, law enforcement has confirmed. The incident prompted the immediate evacuation of the area; neighbors were allowed to return to their homes on Wednesday.
Though the arrest warrant against Mr. Salmanzadeh was unsealed this afternoon, the criminal complaint and affidavit remain sealed, per judicial order.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Like all defendants, Mr. Salmanzadeh is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
If convicted of the federal offense, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office and the Amarillo Police Department’s Bomb Squad conducted the investigation with the assistance of the North Texas Joint Terrorism Taskforce, Homeland Security Investigations, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Amarillo Fire Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Haag and Josh Frausto are prosecuting the case.
UPDATE: On May 26, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Mr. Salmanzadeh with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2332a(a)(2). The charge carries a potential sentence of up to life in federal prison. Mr. Salmanzadeh’s trial has been continued to Tuesday, August 9.
Updated May 26, 2022