'Most Wanted' terrorist from Bay Area

April 21, 2009 1:05:00 PM PDT
The FBI called a news conference Tuesday to announce a $250,000 reward for information leading to the capture of 31-year-old Daniel San Diego. Agents say he is behind bombings at a pair of Bay Area companies with ties to a lab that uses animals for testing.

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"San Diego is wanted for his alleged involvement in the bombings of two bio-technology facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area, " said Asst. Dir. Michael Heimbach with the FBI's counterterrorism division.

Daniel San Diego graduated from a San Rafael high school and lived in Berkeley. Now the FBI suspects he may be living abroad, possibly in Costa Rica.

The bureau says he is a violent animal rights extremist responsible for planting two bombs in August of 2003 at the Emeryville headquarters of Chiron Corporation, a medical technology company. Agents believe the first bomb was designed to do damage, but the second was designed to injure first responders.

Agents believe San Diego was behind another bombing a month later, when a potentially deadly device studded with nails exploded in Pleasanton at the offices of the Shaklee Company, a maker of nutritional supplements. No one was hurt in either incident.

"Search warrants were served on San Diego's residence and his vehicle on October 8th and 9th, 2003, which revealed that San Diego was in possession of bomb-making materials similar to those used in the bombings," said Heimbach.

A grand jury indicted San Diego, but he was already on the run. Now he's the first domestic terrorism suspect to make the same list Osama bin Laden is on.

"Does he rise to the stature of Osama bin Laden? No. But indeed three acts of a violent act where improvised explosive devices were used and someone could have been potentially injured and or killed is quite concerning to us," said Heimbach.

The FBI says San Diego could have changed his appearance, so they put out retouched photos of what he may look like now. They also put out drawings of four tattoos on his torso. On his chest there is a fiery landscape surrounded by the words "It only takes a spark." On both sides of his abdomen are drawings of buildings ablaze and collapsing -- between them a single tree in the middle of his lower back.

"We need the public's help to apprehend this violent domestic terrorism fugitive and bring him to justice," said Heimbach.

Why is the FBI making this announcement more than five years after the bombings? It's simple, the bureau says the trail has gone cold. They're hoping that putting out this information now will generate new leads as to where Daniel San Diego may be hiding.

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