On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the indictment of a San Jose engineer for his attack on energy facilities in California.
According to court documents, Peter Karasev, 36, was indicted Oct. 19 for attacking two PG&E transformers in San Jose on Dec. 8, 2022 and Jan. 5, 2023. Karasev was charged with knowingly and willfully damaging the property of two energy facilities and attempting to cause or cause significant interruption and impairment of those energy facilities. The indictment also alleges Karasev used fire and an explosive to commit a felony.
“The indictment alleges that Karasev built explosive devices and used them to damage energy facilities, knocking out power to over 1,500 homes and businesses in the San Jose area,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said. “The FBI is laser focused on protecting the essential infrastructure that Americans rely on every day, and we and our partners like the San Jose Police Department will use every lawful means to hold anyone who targets that infrastructure accountable.”
According to the indictment, Karasev built explosive devices and then used them in early morning attacks to damage the transformers at the two energy facilities. For months before the attack, Karasev built and experimented with homemade explosives, as well as manufactured methamphetamine, in his home, officials said.
Karasev was arrested in March 2023. At the time of his arrest, Karasev was allegedly in possession of a number of explosive devices, as well as multiple firearms, additional weapons, more than 300 pounds of explosive precursor materials and other hazardous substances.
“These charges make clear that those who attack our country’s critical infrastructure will be met with the full force of the Justice Department,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said.
If convicted, Karasev faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, and a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release for each count.
“Damaging our region’s critical infrastructure endangers innocent victims – including our most vulnerable citizens such as the elderly and the sick – and we will not tolerate it. We will vigorously prosecute any malicious attempts to disrupt the power grid,” U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey for the Northern District of California said.