SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts

Arrest made in connection to suspicious packages

Cesar Sayoc was charged Friday with five federal crimes and faces up to 48 years in prison in connection to ...

Posted: Oct 27, 2018 5:28 PM
Updated: Oct 27, 2018 5:28 PM

Cesar Sayoc was charged Friday with five federal crimes and faces up to 48 years in prison in connection to improvised explosive devices sent to prominent Democratic politicians, donors and CNN offices in New York.

Sayoc was arrested in a south Florida auto parts store Friday morning as additional explosive devices or suspicious packages were identified in New York and California.

Bomb threats

Continents and regions

Cory Booker

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Criminal offenses

Florida

North America

Political Figures - US

Southeastern United States

The Americas

United States

James Clapper

Donald Trump

2016 Presidential election

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Political candidates

Politics

US Federal elections

US federal government

US Presidential elections

White House

2018 Political package bombs

Bombs and explosive devices

Domestic terrorism

International relations and national security

National security

Terrorism

Terrorism and counter-terrorism

Unrest, conflicts and war

Weapons and arms

Arrests

Criminal law

Law and legal system

Law enforcement

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Government organizations - US

US Department of Justice

US federal departments and agencies

Cesar Sayoc

Misc people

Criminal investigations

Jeff Sessions

A total of 13 bombs were mailed around the country, FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a new conferences, adding that there could be more packages not yet discovered.

"These are not hoax devices," Wray said.

Sayoc was charged with illegal mailing of explosives, threats against former presidents and others, and assaulting current and former federal officers, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, adding that charges could change or expand as the investigation continues. He initially said Sayoc faced up to 58 years in prison, but the Justice Department later revised that figure to 48.

"This is a law-and-order administration," Sessions said at the Justice Department. "We will not tolerate such lawlessness, especially not political violence."

Speaking at the White House Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump congratulated law enforcement on the arrest and denounced what he called "terrorizing acts." He also called for unity: "peace and love and harmony as fellow Americans."

His remarks came after he has blamed the media this week for rising "anger" in the country while refusing to acknowledge his own role in contributing to divisive rhetoric in the public discourse.

"We must never allow political violence to take root in America," Trump said at one point. "I'm committed to doing everything in my power as President to stop it."

As the situation initially unfolded mid-morning -- before the arrest was announced -- the President complained on Twitter that the news media was busy reporting on "'Bomb' stuff" and not politics.

"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. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!" Trump tweeted.

Sessions said a political motive was not immediately known.

Asked why the targets were Democrats or Trump critics, Sessions said, "I don't know. Other than what you might normally expect. He may have been -- appears to be partisan but that will be determined by the facts as the case goes forward."

Sayoc's social media accounts showed he was a fervent supporter of Trump and had posted criticism of CNN and other media outlets. Among the posts were threats to individual political figures and media outlets, including CNN and CNN employees.

Trump told reporters Friday on the South Lawn he had heard Sayoc was a supporter of his, but that didn't mean much to the President.

"I heard he was a person who prefers me over others, but I did not see that," Trump said when asked about images of Trump on Sayoc's van.

The President added, "There's no blame, there's no anything."

Read the complaint against Cesar Sayoc

Sayoc initially cooperative after arrest

FBI agents used flash bangs to arrest Sayoc and took him into custody near an AutoZone store in Plantation, a law enforcement official said. He was initially cooperative and told investigators that the pipe bombs wouldn't have hurt anyone and that he didn't want to harm anyone, the official added.

A white van -- adorned with images of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, as well as a "CNN Sucks" sticker -- in Plantation was towed away Friday to Miramar, Florida, where an FBI field office is located. The official said Sayoc had been kicked out by his parents and was living in the van.

He later retained an attorney so police questioning has ceased, the official added.

DNA found on at least one of the packages, as well as Sayoc's cell phone, helped investigators identify him, multiple law enforcement officials said.

Previous arrests

Sayoc was not previously known to the Secret Service, law enforcement sources said, but Florida records show a string of arrests dating back to the early 1990s.

Notable among them is a 2002 arrest by Miami police for an offense described in online records as a "threat to bomb" and "threaten to discharge destructive device." A police report at the time shows that he threatened to blow up a power company and that "it would be worse than September 11th."

Sayoc pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year of probation, records show.

The records show a total of eight arrests for offenses, including grand theft, battery, fraud and drug possession, as well as multiple probation violations. In 2014, he was arrested after stealing copper pipes at a Home Depot, to which he plead guilty.

The adjudication of each of the arrests could not immediately be determined from the summary of offenses provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Sayoc appears to have pleaded no contest to some offenses. Prosecutors appear to have dropped charges in other matters.

Sayoc also was arrested in North Carolina in 1999 on a stolen vehicle charge, which was later dismissed.

Florida voting records show Sayoc is a registered Republican. He filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

New packages Friday

Earlier Friday, authorities intercepted suspicious packages intended for Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey; former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California; and major Democratic donor Tom Steyer, the latest to be sent to prominent Democrats and critics of Trump that were discovered earlier this week.

Authorities believe the package addressed to Steyer is from Sayoc, according to multiple law enforcement officials.

This brings the total number of known packages sent by Sayoc to 14. However, he's been charged with sending only 13 packages.

One of the officials says the package has been rendered safe and will be transported to the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, for analysis.

The FBI said Friday that the package addressed to Booker was discovered in Florida and is "similar in appearance to the others." Sources told CNN the package was addressed to the senator's Camden, New Jersey, office. Booker confirmed the package was intended for him but declined to comment further to CNN. The packages intended for Harris and Steyer were discovered in California, law enforcement sources said.

The package intended for Clapper also was addressed to CNN, a law enforcement official said. It was found at a New York City postal facility and was similar to the other packages, the official added.

The Clapper package arrived in a manila envelope with six US flag stamps, just like others discovered this week. The return address is that of Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Florida office, which was the address on packages intended for former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, billionaire and Democratic donor George Soros, actor Robert De Niro, former Attorney General Eric Holder, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former CIA Director John Brennan. There is no information that suggests Wasserman Schultz sent them.

Clapper, who has frequently criticized Trump, vowed to CNN Friday morning that he wouldn't be intimidated in light of the discovery.

"I do want to just echo one thing that John Brennan said and that this is not going to silence the administration's critics," Clapper said.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 32°
Kokomo
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 21°
Rensselaer
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 24°
Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 32°
Danville
Partly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 24°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 23°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 23°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 22°
Monticello
Clear
29° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 22°
Logansport
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 20°
March comes in like a lamb...
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 661673

Reported Deaths: 12573
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion906391639
Lake48389876
Allen35806635
Hamilton32056396
St. Joseph29947512
Elkhart25376414
Vanderburgh21245378
Tippecanoe20000201
Johnson16336359
Porter15957270
Hendricks15813300
Clark11946181
Madison11741316
Vigo11595229
Monroe10328161
Delaware9836179
LaPorte9761196
Howard9055197
Kosciusko8561109
Bartholomew7448147
Warrick7412150
Hancock7404131
Floyd7200169
Wayne6631191
Grant6424157
Morgan6084125
Boone608288
Dubois5903111
Dearborn547067
Cass544399
Marshall5423104
Henry542093
Noble509078
Jackson464566
Shelby460290
Lawrence4180112
Gibson401281
Harrison399663
Clinton395453
Montgomery386783
DeKalb385178
Knox357285
Miami357263
Whitley349136
Huntington343976
Steuben338155
Wabash331176
Putnam329759
Ripley327061
Adams323149
Jasper315943
White297352
Jefferson294873
Daviess285396
Fayette271556
Decatur270888
Greene261280
Posey260831
Wells258274
Scott250350
Clay241044
LaGrange240870
Randolph225576
Spencer217130
Jennings215044
Washington211027
Sullivan203239
Fountain201442
Starke188051
Owen182153
Fulton178237
Jay177728
Carroll176518
Perry173235
Orange171250
Rush164722
Vermillion160442
Franklin159435
Tipton146341
Parke139216
Pike127632
Blackford120627
Pulaski106444
Newton96531
Brown94939
Benton91913
Crawford90613
Martin80114
Warren75814
Switzerland7537
Union67110
Ohio53311
Unassigned0431

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events