Friday federal authorities arrested 56 year-old Cesar Sayoc just outside of Miami, Florida. He is charged with five federal crimes and faces up to 58 years in prison if convicted. The FBI says 13 packages have been intercepted in total. Three were discovered Friday in New York, California, and one from Florida addressed to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s Camden office.
All of the so-called mail bombs were sent to high profile Democrats who have been critical of President Trump. FBI Director Chris Wray said agents were lead to Sayoc thanks to a fingerprint uncovered from one of the envelopes containing, what he referred to as, an IED-addressed to Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
“Each devise consisted of roughly six inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, a battery, some wiring and what is known as energetic material, which is essentially potentially explosive material that gives off heat and energy through a reaction to heat shock or friction. Though we’re still analyzing the devices in our laboratory, these are not hoax devices,” Wray said.
“I want to reiterate the defendant in this case is innocent until proven guilty, but let this be a lesson to everyone regardless of political beliefs, we will bring the full force of law against anyone who attempts to use threats, intimidation and outright violence to further an agenda. We will find you, and we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.
Sayoc has a lengthy criminal background that goes back decades, including an arrest for a bomb threat in 2002. The FBI is also investigating a white van, allegedly belonging to Sayoc, that’s plastered with right-leaning political stickers. Investigators haven’t confirmed, but it may be where the bombs were built. Fortunately none of these devices detonated and no one was injured. But, this put the larger issue of partisan rhetoric in the spotlight. It’s polarized the nation and critics on both sides of the aisle point to our national leaders for adding fuel to that fire. President Trump Friday, struck a different tone than what’s been seen recently.
“We must never allow political violence to take root in America. cannot let it happen and I’m committed to doing everything in my power as President to stop it and to stop it now,” President Donald Trump said.
Booker is on the campaign trail Friday for fellow Democrats ahead of the midterms, but he put out a tweet this afternoon immediately following the Department of Justice’s arrest announcement: “Grateful for law enforcement’s work to bring those responsible to justice & for their vigilance to keep Americans safe. Cowardly acts of terror will never silence or intimidate Americans — they will only strengthen our resolve to stand against fear & hatred.”
Wray added that Friday’s arrest doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods. There may be other packages in transit currently, and he’s asking Americans to remain vigilant.