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Pipe bomb suspect pleads guilty

Monday, May 5th, 2014
Issue 19, Volume 18.
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RIVERSIDE - A parolee indicted for planting pipe bombs near his ex- girlfriend's Palm Springs home pleaded guilty to a felony today.

Edward Allen Costa, 49, was indicted in federal court in September on six counts of possessing unregistered destructive devices in the discovery of some homemade bombs in early May 2012. He pleaded guilty to one of those counts and faces up to 10 years in federal prison. Sentencing is scheduled for July 14 at the federal courthouse in Riverside, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Costa, who lived in Desert Hot Springs, pleaded guilty in 2012 to being a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to a year in prison in that case. In August 2013, he left a halfway house in Rubidoux, where he was finishing his sentence, and was arrested in November by the Banning police and the FBI.

The first pipe bomb was found May 8, 2012, with four more discovered May 10 and another on May 12, most of them in the vicinity of North Indian Canyon and San Rafael drives, according to Palm Springs police.

Explosives charges were filed against Costa in June 2012, but were dropped for lack of evidence. FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents continued to investigate the case, and Costa was indicted while a fugitive last year.

BATFE Agent Adam Rudolph testified during a June 2012 detention hearing for Costa that while searching the convicted felon's residence, federal agents discovered four marijuana plants, a flare gun, about 30 12-gauge shotgun shells, gunpowder and a metal end-cap. Costa also had some methamphetamine in his pocket, Rudolph alleged.

The agent testified some of the material was similar to that used in the pipe bombs.

A Palm Springs woman told police Costa -- her daughter's ex-boyfriend -- "was manufacturing the devices because she had seen PVC piping at his residence on numerous occasions," according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed by Clinton Kehr, a BATFE agent.

When authorities went to Costa's house on Pomelo Drive on May 11, 2012, they saw blue pipe glue near the front door, according to Kehr.

Costa told authorities that he worked for a construction company, laying pipe and doing plumbing work, explaining why the items were at the house, according to court papers.

The gun charge Costa pleaded guilty to in 2012 stemmed from a .357 Magnum revolver and 105 rounds of shotgun and pistol ammunition being seized at Costa's Desert Hot Springs property.



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