A 40-year-old Beaumont, Texas man has been arrested for federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown on Friday.
Jonathan Matthew Torres was arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint issued by the U.S. District Court charging him with use of an explosive to damage property, mailing a threatening communication, and possession of an unregistered destructive device. Torres will appear in federal court on May 29, 2018 on these charges.
According to information presented in court, on Apr. 26, 2018, what appeared to be a homemade destructive device was located inside a U.S. Postal Service priority mail service box at a Starbucks on Dowlen Road in Beaumont. The device did not explode and there were no injuries. On May 10, 2018, an explosion occurred at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Delaware Street in Beaumont. The explosive device caused damage to St. Stephen’s administration building but there were no injuries. An extensive investigation led law enforcement authorities to Torres and on May 24, 2018, a search warrant was executed at Torres’s residence in the 4400 block of El Paso Street in Beaumont, Texas. Inside the residence, investigators recovered multiple containers of the same type of explosive material used in both previously discussed devices; postal boxes similar to the boxes used in the previously discussed devices; a receipt for the purchase of the type of string used in the device found at Starbucks; zip-ties similar to the type used in the device found at Starbucks; packing tape similar to the type used in the device found at Starbucks; and other components consistent with the devices. Torres was arrested without incident.
If convicted, Torres faces a minimum of five years and up to 20 years in federal prison.
If you have any information related to these events, please call Beaumont Crime Stoppers at 409-833-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-CALL-FBI.
This case is being investigated by the Beaumont Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Texas Department of Public Safety, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher T. Tortorice and Russell James.
It is important to note that a complaint, arrest, or indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.