Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio was the apparent target of an explosive device that was intercepted and disabled, Arizona officials said Friday.
The device, which is being examined for clues, comes after weeks of attacks on police officers and prosecutors in other states. Arpaio, also the subject of a recall campaign, has condemned the attacks on fellow elected law enforcement officials.
Arpaio, who describes himself as America’s toughest sheriff, is an icon in the conservative world for his strong efforts to block immigrants from illegally entering the country along his state’s border.
Throughout his 20-year tenure, Arpaio has been no stranger to threats. Some have turned out to be hoaxes and some, such as those in the 2012 election campaign, were real enough to lead to arrests.
The current threat seems to be the first involving what the department has called an explosive device, though its exact nature is still under investigation, along with possible suspects.
A suspicious package was picked up at a rural post office on Thursday and sent to the Flagstaff, Ariz., post office. There, a worker contacted authorities who tested and found it had leaked gunpowder.
The package was examined by X-ray and disabled, officials said.