What we know about package bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc

Sayoc threatened bombing in 2002 that 'would be worse than September 11th'

By Anna Johnson - Digital Journalist

PLANTATION, Fla. - A Florida man has been taken into custody in connection with the suspicious packages mailed to notable political figures and critics of President Donald Trump, according to officials from the FBI.

The Associated Press reports that the man is 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc, of Aventura, who CBS said was identified partially through DNA evidence left on one of the device mailed to Democratic Rep Maxine Waters.

Sayoc has been arrested on five different charges. They are:

  • Illegal mailings of explosives
  • Illegal transport of an explosive
  • Threats made against former presidents and certain other persons
  • Threatening interstate communications
  • Assaulting federal officers

The AP reports Sayoc was born in New York and will be prosecuted in New York City after making an initial court appearance in Florida.

CNN released video that they report shows Sayoc attending a Trump rally in Feb. 2017 in Melbourne.

The official federal complaint filed against Sayoc on Friday includes a list of all the bombs and their intended locations. Four of the packages were routed through the Opa-Locka U.S. Postal Service processing center, according to the complaint. The county in which Sayoc lives is serviced by that processing center.

The complaint states that the names of many of the intended recipients were misspelled by the sender, including "Hilary [sic] Clinton," "Barrack [sic] Obama," "John Brenan [sic]," and "Maxim [sic] Waters."

A Twitter account that appears to be operated by Sayoc under the username @hardrock2016 often also contains the same misspellings, according to the complaint. The account regularly posts criticisms of Democratic Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, the Affordable Care Act and other Democratic elected officials.

Sayoc has an extensive criminal history in Broward County including convictions for theft and stolen property in the 1990s and fraudulent refunds and misdemeanor of tampering with physical evidence in 2004. He also was convicted in 2002 on a threat to "throw, place, project or discharge any destructive device" when he threatened to throw a bomb. 

According to the incident report, Sayoc called Florida Power & Light Co. and threatened to blow up the building and harm the representative who spoke to him on the phone if the company turned off his electricity. Sayoc said the attack would be "worse than September 11th," the report states.

Court records show he served a year of probation for the incident.

Ronald Lowy, a lawyer who represented Sayoc at the time, told the AP that Sayoc was a bodybuilder in 2002 and showed no obvious political affiliation, but did own a vehicle "plastered" with Native American signs.

FBI officials said Sayoc was arrested in close proximity to his van, which was seen to be covered in stickers. Authorities then covered the van with a tarp and were seen hauling it away from the Autozone where Sayoc was arrested.

A close image of a white van covered with photos of Trump as well as stickers showing targets over the faces of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama was shared in a tweet by CBS Evening news. CBS said the van is believed to be Sayoc's.

In his first comments since Sayoc was taken into custody, Trump said Sayoc will be prosecuted "to the fullest extent of the law," and went on to say, "(Sayoc's) terrorizing acts are despicable."

A Twitter account that appears to be operated by Sayoc regularly posts criticisms of Democratic Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, the Affordable Care Act and Democratic elected officials.

The FBI said Friday that a package addressed to U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, of New Jersey, was intercepted in Florida. Another was discovered at a Manhattan postal facility and was addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper at CNN's address.

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