A Panama City lawyer is accused of trying to set off explosives outside the Chinese embassy in the capital
Panama City – A Local lawyer He remains in detention on charges of attempting to bomb a Chinese embassy.
According to information provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Christopher Rodriguez, an attorney practicing out of Panama City, was arrested on November 4 in Lafayette, Louisiana, on four felony counts related to the attempted bombing of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Panama. China in Washington, DC
An affidavit from the US District Court for the District of Columbia said the incident occurred on September 25. At approximately 2:45 a.m. that day, US Secret Service officers found an unattended backpack along the embassy fence.
“Inside the backpack was a bag of Expert Grill brand charcoal briquettes,” the affidavit states. “Inside the charcoal briquette bag were approximately 14 pounds of a gray granular material and two clear plastic containers each containing approximately a half pound of a similar gray granular material.
“One container had a partial bright orange label indicating ‘rifle targets’. The rest of the labels have been removed. This package…is consistent with explosive targets.”
The granular material found in the backpack was consistent with ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder, two substances commonly used in explosive mixtures.
Surveillance footage from the University of the District of Columbia, as well as three businesses and a residence along Connecticut Avenue, shows Rodriguez traveling on foot and by vehicle “around the target location before and after the backpack containing explosives was discovered,” according to the affidavit. “
He was also seen carrying not only the same type of backpack found at the embassy, but also a long bag similar to one used to transport a rifle.
“Explosive targets are designed to initiate when a round of ammunition is fired at approximately 2,000 feet per second or faster,” the affidavit said.
While examining the scene, officers found three shell casings, bullet fragments and impact marks along the wall where the backpack was located.
“The presence of shell casings…and bullet fragments near the wall indicates that one or more persons attempted to detonate the explosives by shooting into the backpack from in or around that location,” the affidavit said.
On October 6, National DNA Index Systems matched DNA found on the backpack’s shoulder strap to a California Department of Justice arrest sample from Rodriguez. He was previously arrested in June 2021 in Los Angeles County by the California Highway Patrol on charges of possession of a loaded and concealed firearm in a vehicle, possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of a switchblade knife.
During a search of his car, officers found “several bags and jars marked Tannerite,” a “brand for explosive targets” that were “consistent with the material recovered from the backpack found outside the Chinese embassy,” according to police. Affidavit.
Along with the evidence listed, law enforcement officials also discovered phone records, purchase records and additional security footage linking Rodriguez to the attempted attack on the embassy, according to the affidavit.
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Rodriguez was charged with four felonies related to the Sept. 25 incident: damaging property occupied by a foreign government, use of an explosive substance in the commission of a felony, attempted malicious use of an explosive substance, and possession of an unregistered firearm or explosive devices.
The News Herald made several unanswered attempts to contact Rodriguez’s law firm.
Jennifer Davis, a spokeswoman for the Florida Bar, confirmed in an email that the organization has an open file on Rodriguez in connection with the allegations.
Davis also noted that disciplinary matters involving Florida attorneys — except those conducted in circuit court — are confidential and proprietary to the Florida Bar. For this reason, she was unable to determine whether the Bar Association was taking any disciplinary action against Rodriguez.
This article originally appeared on the News Herald: A Panama City lawyer is accused of trying to bomb the Chinese embassy in the capital