Florida Man Arrested In Pipe Bomb Mailings
NEW YORK - The Justice Department says a person has been taken into custody in connection with a series of package bombs sent to prominent Democrats. The suspect has been identified as 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc who was arrested in south Florida.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Sayoc has been charged with five crimes, including illegal mailing of explosives. Additional charges may be filed, he said.
According to court and other public records, Cesar Sayoc, 56, has a lengthy criminal and court record in Florida. He has been convicted of theft, stolen property and traffic charges and in 2002 on a threat to "throw, place, project or discharge any destructive device."
Sayoc is in custody in Florida in the mail bombs sent to prominent Democrats. He was born in New York.
Sayoc was sentenced in August 2002 for threatening to throw a bomb in a conversation with a Florida utility representative, according to Ronald Lowy, a Miami attorney who represented him. Dade County court records showed Sayoc served a year's probation after a judge signed a discharge certificate in November 2002.
Lowy told The Associated Press that Sayoc "made a verbal threat when he was frustrated at a lack of service." Lowy said Sayoc showed no ability at the time to back up his threat with bomb-making expertise.
The lawyer said Sayoc was a bodybuilder then and displayed no political leanings except for plastering a vehicle he owned with Native American signs.
Court records also show that Sayoc was convicted in the 1990s in Broward County on grand theft and stolen property charges and in 2004 on a felony charge of fraudulent refunds and a misdemeanor of tampering with physical evidence.
Officials have located 13 devices addressed in recent days to Democratic figures including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton. They stress that there may be additional devices that have not yet been discovered.
The FBI said Friday that a package addressed to Sen. Cory Booker, of New Jersey, was intercepted in Florida. Another was discovered at a Manhattan postal facility and was addressed to former national intelligence director James Clapper at CNN's address.
The targets have all been high-profile critics of President Donald Trump.
Sayoc's van has been taken into custody. It is covered with stickers supporting the president and vice-president as well as anti-Democratic stickers including a Hillary Clinton photo with crosshairs covering it.
The New York package was addressed to "James Robert Clapper Time Warner (CNN)," according to a photo of the package obtained by CBS New York station WCBS-TV. On Wednesday, a bomb sent to CNN's offices in New York's Time Warner Center prompted an evacuation of the building.
Others have been intended for people including former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder, philanthropist George Soros, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Rep. Maxine Waters.
The FBI is doing a nationwide manhunt for whoever is sending the pipe bomb packages. Officials are trying to determine if the sender or senders was trying to sow fear or actually cause physical destruction.
President Donald Trump claims he's being blamed for the mail bombs addressed to some of his most prominent critics.
Trump says in a tweet sent before dawn Friday, "Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will, even blaming me for the current spate of Bombs and ridiculously comparing this to September 11th and the Oklahoma City bombing, yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, 'it's just not Presidential!"'
Pipe bombs were sent to Trump critics including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and to ex-CIA director John Brennan at CNN but didn't explode.
Trump tweeted Thursday much of the anger in society is caused by the "Mainstream Media."