SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) – Threats to California State Senator Leland Yee led to the arrest of a Santa Clara man and the confiscation of bomb making materials and an illegally loaded gun.
Everett Basham, 45, was being held without bail Wednesday in Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of threatening a public official and possessing a concealed firearm.
Members of the California Highway Patrol’s Hazardous Device Detail, working with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s bomb squad, found a “useable device” – an explosive – around 3 p.m. and planned to place it into the trailer to blow it up Thursday, said Sean Kennedy, spokesman for the CHP’s Protective Services Division.
Adam Keigwin, Chief of Staff to State Senator Leland Yee, confirmed that the senator was the subject of threats.
“The most recent threat, within the last few weeks, had to do with the senator’s legislative proposals to end gun violence,” said Keigwin.
“Whenever we receive a threat, we immediately contact the Sergeant of Arms who then works with the CHP in the investigation,” continued Keigwin, who said the name on the threats was not Basham, but added that fake names are not uncommon. “There have been several racist comments and rants directed at the senator in e-mails, Facebook, Twitter, etc. But this was a direct threat and there haven’t been any quite like this one.”
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Basham was arrested without incident at a relative’s home.
“All legislators get hate mail all the time, but we don’t write search warrants,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said a CHP special weapons team then entered Basham’s home in a quiet Santa Clara neighborhood but backed out quickly after finding volatile chemicals and other apparent bomb-making materials.
“We weren’t expecting to find the chemicals,” Kennedy said. “That may have laid validation to the fact that this person may have had the intention to do harm.”
The roof of the home is covered with antennas, satellite dishes and security cameras, and neighbors said they have seen Basham regularly wearing camouflage clothing. The interior of the home was so cluttered that investigators had difficulty opening the front door.
“We’re just trying to get through it safely,” Kennedy said. “After finding the chemicals, it makes you really nervous.”
The chemicals were deemed too dangerous to be moved. The bomb squad burned the material without incident in a hole dug in the front yard.
“You’ve seen the movies. Some of the stuff, all it takes is a flick to set it off,” Kennedy said.
Nearby neighbors were evacuated and others were told to stay in their homes while the materials were burned.
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