PHOENIX -- Maricopa County Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan says investigators are trying to locate one person who may have been involved in mailing an explosive package addressed to Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Sheridan says the package discovered in a northern Arizona mailbox would have exploded if opened, leading to serious injuries or death.
The package intercepted Thursday had been left in a parcel locker that was part of a multiple address mailbox in a rural part of Coconino County, outside Flagstaff city limits. U.S. Postal Inspector Patricia Armstrong said authorities were alerted by a ``very astute'' carrier who observed ``something suspicious'' about the package.
Postal Inspector Patricia Armstrong said investigators were examining debris from the package. "We don't know if it was an actual device of some sort," she said.
The sheriff's office said Flagstaff police reported that the package appeared suspicious so it was X-rayed and the device detected.
Sheridan says authorities used a water cannon to neutralize it.
Arpaio told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR on Friday, "This is nothing unusual for this sheriff, 21 years I've been having these threats. But they're picking up a little."
Tom Mangan, a spokesman in Phoenix for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said initial reports indicated that the package was a box that may have been damaged in transit and leaked gunpowder.
A press release from the sheriff's office said authorities in Flagstaff are pursuing leads and three Maricopa deputies were dispatched to Flagstaff to assist. Flagstaff is about 140 miles north of Phoenix.
Arapio, 80, couldn't guess who was behind the threat.
"(There are) many different forces trying to take this sheriff down or intimidate me. ... I'm a high-profile guy and I'm not going to back down. I'll be around for many more years," he told KTAR.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.