Pipe Bomb Suspect Arrested in South Florida, Charged with Five Federal Crimes
Earlier this week multiple suspicious packages containing explosive devices addressed to politicians, federal officials, CNN, and a celebrity were discovered by authorities.
On Friday, authorities arrested the Florida man who is suspected to have sent the 13 packages discovered.
56-year-old Cesar Sayoc is now in custody in the Miami area.
According to a press conference held by the Department of Justice on Friday afternoon, Sayoc faces 58 years in prisons if convicted and has been charged for five federal crimes for illegally mailing explosives, illegally transporting explosives across state lines, making threats against former presidents, assaulting federal officers and threatening interstate commerce.
A white van covered in decals, many supporting President Trump, was detained as evidence.
FBI agents analyzing the packages were able to find a latent fingerprint that matched Sayoc’s on the envelope with the explosive device intended for U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, according to the information given at the press conference.
The packages sent are believed to have passed through a mail facility in Opa-locka, just outside of Miami, Florida, so authorities focused on Miami and the surrounding areas.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions opened up the DOJ press conference and said: “we will not tolerate such lawlessness, especially political violence.”
“Let this be a lesson to anyone, regardless of their political beliefs, that we will bring the full force of the law to anyone who uses violence to push an agenda. We will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” said Sessions.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said that they were not hoax devices and that more packages may have been sent in the mail. He warned citizens to be on high-alert.
Secret Service Director Randolph Alles, along with the other officials that spoke at the press conference, said that it was because of the cooperation of the FBI, joint terrorism task force, postal service, police departments in New York, Florida, California, Deleware, Maryland, and D.C that the suspect was arrested so quickly.
Sayoc is the only suspect in custody at this time and officials did not say if others were suspected to be involved.
According to the records, Sayoc, an amateur bodybuilder, has a criminal background.
He was arrested in Miami back in 2002 for a bomb threat and has two other criminal cases in Miami courts, one for the illegal possessions of steroids and one for theft. In 2012, he filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy.
So far, 13 packages were intercepted this week from being sent to prominent Democrats and including former president Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former Vice President Joe Biden.
In New York, two other packages were found, one was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan and was received at CNN‘s headquarters in New York City and the other was obtained at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. On Monday, the first package was discovered at liberal billionaire George Soros’ New York compound.
Then another package addressed to Eric Holder was intercepted at Florida U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ office on Wednesday and the office of U.S. Rep Maxine Waters was also sent a suspicious package.
On Friday, three newly discovered packages were intercepted– one for Democratic Sen. Cory Booker in New Jersey and another addressed to the former director of national intelligence James Clapper which was also bound for CNN‘s offices in New York. On Friday afternoon, Sen. Kamala Harris’ office reported that she also received a package in Sacramento, California.
Celebrity and renowned actor Robert De Niro was sent a package, as well.
“I thank God no one’s been hurt, and I thank the brave and resourceful security and law enforcement people for protecting us,” said De Niro in a statement. “There’s something more powerful than bombs, and that’s your vote. People must vote!”
None of the devices exploded in the packages and no one was injured. All of the packages were similar and assumed to be from the same person, many of which contained flash powder.
President Donald Trump vowed that the Justice Department made this investigation its top priority.
“I have instructed authorities to spare no resource or expense in finding those responsible in bringing them to swift and certain justice, and we will prosecute them, him, her, whoever it may be to the fullest extent of the law,” said Trump.
However, he also pointed out that the media is now more focused on reporting on the bombs versus any other important news stories.
“Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this ‘Bomb’ stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows—news not talking politics,” tweeted Trump. “Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!”
Editor’s note: I believe the full story has yet to be told. Were these actually supposed to go off? Or were they just meant to be a threat? Was someone else working with him? How did he learn to make (very poor) pipe bombs? Nothing quite fits together just yet.