Crime - Sacto 911

Former Oroville resident sentenced to home detention for sending bomb threats via mail

A former Oroville resident has been sentenced to time served plus five months home detention and three years supervised release after making about 150 threatening letters to prominent national politicians, government organizations and businesses.

Kao Xiong, 34, of Oroville and Saint Paul, Minnesota, previously pleaded guilty to sending the letters, some of which threatened to detonate bombs and make assassinations, according to a news release issued Thursday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.

“Pipe Bomb, Everyone is going to die,” one letter sent to DFW offices in Texas read, according to court records.

Xiong addressed letters to President Donald Trump, former presidents, FBI offices, an airport, a mall, and others, according to the release.

There is no evidence that Xiong ever built any device, and he told investigators in January that he had no access to explosives training or any intent to hurt anyone.

In one letter, Xiong made a bomb threat to a Sunnyvale business that was reported to the FBI by local police. Some of his letters were intercepted by authorities before reaching their intended targets, according to the release.

He was arrested on Dec. 22, 2017, and pleaded guilty to one count of making malicious threats about explosive devices by mail on Jan. 3, 2019, according to previous reporting by The Sacramento Bee.

Court records showed that two identical letters were sent in November 2017 to a TV station in Minnesota and an FBI field office in Boston that threatened to kill the president.

“I need one million dollars or Donald Trump is dead,” the letters said.

Xiong admitted in previous court proceedings that he had been treated for mental illness in the past.

The Xiong case preceded a string of mail bomb packages sent in the fall to critics of President Trump and Democratic politicians that shut down neighborhoods and post offices as the packages made their way through the mail nationwide.

One of the devices was addressed to U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and was discovered in a Sacramento post office in October, where authorities spent five hours before declaring the area safe. Federal authorities later charged a Florida man, Cesar Sayoc, in that case.

On Thursday, Sayoc pleaded guilty in New York to sending the pipe bombs.

He could get life in prison at sentencing Sept. 12 on 65 counts, including 16 counts of using a weapon of mass destruction and mailing explosives with intent to kill, according to the Associated Press. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped a charge that carried a mandatory life sentence.

Vincent Moleski covers business and breaking news for The Bee and is a graduate student in literature at Sacramento State. He was born and raised in Sacramento and previously wrote for the university’s student newspaper, the State Hornet.