The police arrested a man in Florida on Friday in connection with the wave of parcels sent to at least 14 prominent figures usually reviled by the US right, which has shaken an already tense election campaign. The suspect has been identified as Cesar Sayoc, a Republican voter with a criminal record and allegedly, owner of a van full of stickers to support Donald Trump and with aggressive messages against his critics.
A fingerprint detected in one of the artifacts and traces of DNA in two others led the researchers to the track of Sayoc, which has been located thanks to mobile phone technology. The police have not yet clarified whether he acted alone or had accomplices. The authorities have already filed charges against the detainee.
The arrest of Cesar Sayoc, 56, occurred in the morning at a car component store in Plantation, South Florida. Born in Brooklyn, New York city where most of the explosive packages have been intercepted, Sayoc has a large criminal record dating back to 1991. Registered voter of the Republican Party, the suspect has a history of theft, steroid trafficking and fraud had previously been arrested for threatening to use a bomb.
The #FBI has confirmed an 11th package has been recovered in Florida, similar in appearance to the others, addressed to Sen. Cory Booker.
— FBI (@FBI) 26 October 2018
In the vicinity of the same establishment, police have seized a white van, owned by the suspect, according to The New York Times, with windows covered in stickers of President Trump’s campaign. Among the stickers was an insulting one against the CNN television network, to which two of the explosive packages were directed.
Sayoc will be charged with five crimes, including threats against a former president and interstate transport of explosives as reported this afternoon by Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. The suspect faces a maximum of 58 years in prison, although the charges may be modified or extended in the course of the investigation. Sessions has avoided talking about terrorism, but has referred to Sayoc as a “partisan.”
The president, who in the morning limited himself to lamenting the possible negative effect of “this thing of the bombs” on his electoral expectations, said later that he will not allow “that the political violence take root in the country”.
The president has alluded to the police operation at noon, local time, during an act at the White House. Two weeks before legislative elections in which the Republicans are playing control of Congress, Trump has praised the speed with which the suspect has been arrested, and described the acts as “frightening and despicable.” “We must never allow political violence to take root in the United States, and I will not allow it,” he said.
Hours before, from his Twitter account, Trump had opted for a reading in an electoral key of some facts that constitute a serious federal crime and include frustrated attacks on two former presidents, a former vice-president and a former secretary of state. “The Republicans are doing so well in the early voting, and in the polls, and now this ‘bombs’ thing happens and the inertia is slowed to a great extent: the news does not talk about politics.
Very unfortunate what is happening. Republicans, come out and vote! “, The president tweeted, who in recent days has not hesitated to point out the tension, which he attributes to critical media with his figure, as a breeding ground that has been able to propitiate the wave of bomb packages.
In the afternoon, at a press conference, the director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, has made it clear that “these are not fake bombs.” Each one contained a 15 cm PVC tube, a watch, a battery, cables and explosive material. A fingerprint and traces of DNA in some of the packages have been key in a “far-reaching” investigation, explained Wray, in which several security forces and three hundred agents have been implicated.
On the same morning as Sayoc’s arrest, police have intercepted at least four new explosive packages, targeting Sen. Cory Brooker and Sen. Kamala Harris, former National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper, and the millionaire and top private donor of Democrats Tom Steyer.
The four new findings now raise to 14 the number of suspicious shipments intercepted in recent days. Other recipients have been former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, former President and former Secretary of State Bill and Hillary Clinton, former CIA Director John Brennan, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, former Attorney General Eric Holder, actor Robert De Niro and the billionaire and Democratic donor George Soros.
At least two of them, directed to Brennan and Clapper, They were referred to the CNN staff in Midtown Manhattan. The 14 recipients have in common having been openly critical of President Trump.
All the artifacts were contained in identical conventional envelopes, and the return address contained, with a misspelling, the name of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democratic congressman from a district in South Florida.
None of the shipments exploded and no one has been injured. The police are still investigating the reason why they did not explode but warns that they should be considered dangerous. The researchers do not rule out the appearance of new packages.