FRESNO, Calif. - A series of recent bombings in Fresno may be the work of white supremacists, police said.
Five suspects have been arrested as part of the investigation into seven blasts across the Central Valley city. Police are investigating if the suspects are affiliated with an extremist group because of Nazi paraphernalia found during raids.
During a Wednesday press conference, Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama said investigators are still mulling over evidence from the explosions that occurred between Dec. 23 and Feb. 21. No one was injured in the blasts.
Police believe Scott Anderson, 44, is the culprit behind the bombings, which included the explosion of a Fresno County probation vehicle. Other bombings targeted additional cars and a mailbox, according to the Fresno Bee.
Anderson was arrested last Friday and faces several state and federal charges.
Four of Anderson's associates were also arrested on a slew of charges ranging from possession of bomb-making materials, being a felon in possession of firearms, and the distribution of methamphetamine. They are Frank Rocha, Paul New, Steven Burkett, and Amanda Sanders.
Detectives served search warrants at three locations in Fresno where they seized 11 illegal firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, meth packaged for sale, and $50,000 in cash. Also uncovered was a sizable amount of Nazi regalia-- flags, banners, hats, and coffee mugs.
"A lot of the pieces of evidence are still being processed. At this point, we cannot say that the motivation was a hate crime or whether the victims were targeted because of their race,"said Balderrama. "We can't say that for certain. That's a possibility. And we haven't solidified the connections to a white supremacist group. But is that a possibility? Yes, it is."
Authorities said it appears the group was trying to bolster its bomb-making operation.
"We found several materials that led us to believe that they were looking to enhance their own skills," Balderrama said. "You start with something basic and then and then you grow, and then make it bigger. That was our concern."