A parolee federally indicted for allegedly planting pipe bombs near his ex-girlfriend's Palm Springs home and going on the run for more than two months will be held without bail, a judge ruled today.
Edward Allen Costa, 48, was captured Monday in Banning during a joint operation by the FBI and Banning Police Department. According to the FBI, agents received information over the weekend regarding Costa's likely whereabouts and followed up on the tip, taking the defendant into custody without incident.
Costa has been the subject of an FBI manhunt since he walked away from a Jurupa Valley halfway house in mid-August and never returned. A $10,000 reward was posted last month for information leading to his apprehension.
Costa appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Sheri Pym at U.S. District Court in Riverside. Pym appointed Costa a public defender, and after noting that the defendant "poses a risk of flight," ordered him held without bail, setting a post-indictment arraignment in the case for Nov. 18 at federal court in Los Angeles.
Costa was indicted in September on six counts of possessing unregistered destructive devices in connection with the discovery of homemade bombs in early May 2012. The U.S. Attorney's Office also charged him with fleeing federal custody.
Costa disappeared after leaving a group home on the pretext of visiting his local state employment office, according to federal investigators.
He pleaded guilty last fall to being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was charged with that crime during an investigation into the pipe bombs.
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 while prosecutors and Costa's defense team reached a plea deal on the gun charge, which stemmed from a .357 Magnum revolver and 105 rounds of shotgun and pistol ammunition being seized at his Desert Hot Springs property.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips sentenced the defendant in January to a year in federal prison. He served less than eight months and was placed in the halfway house in August to begin his re-integration into society, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
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.
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, 20 to 30 12-gauge shotgun shells, gunpowder and a metal end-cap. Costa also had a small quantity of 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 that 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 last year, 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 some of the suspicious items were kept at the house, according to court papers, which state that he has two prior convictions in the 1990s for receiving stolen property.
If convicted of the latest charges, Costa could face 10 years in federal prison. --CITY NEWS SERVICE