An Aventura, Florida, man with a lengthy criminal record has been arrested in connection with the several pipe bombs recently sent to prominent Democrats in the past three days. Cesar Sayoc (shown), 56, has been taken into custody. The suspect was arrested at an auto-parts store in Plantation, Florida.
The arrest came after authorities found at least two more packages — one in Florida and another in New York — earlier in the day, which brings the current number of packages to 12. The recipients of the two additional packages are reported to be New Jersey Senator Corey Booker and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
As of now, authorities are investigating another suspicious package sent to Tom Steyer in Burlingame, California. Steyer is known for donating heavily to Democrats.
Sayoc has a criminal history dating back to 1991, including a 2002 Miami arrest for making a bomb threat, a felony offense. Sayoc plead guilty to the charge and was sentenced to probation, according to court documents. In addition to living in Florida, Sayoc has also lived in New York, North Carolina, Michigan, and New Jersey.
Sayoc has also been arrested for larceny, grand theft, battery, fraud, and numerous parole violations. He was not previously known to the Secret Service. Investigators reportedly used his cellphone in order to track him down. In addition, Sayoc’s DNA was found on at least one of the suspicious packages.
A white van owned by Sayoc was plastered in stickers and decals in support of President Trump. The van has been seized by authorities. Sayoc’s social-media accounts show that he frequently attended President Trump’s MAGA rallies.
The FBI and the Justice Department will release more information in a press conference later today.
Investigators reportedly tracked several of the packages to the Post Office’s distribution center in Opa-locka, Florida, which is near Sayoc’s home.
President Trump announced the capture of the suspect in his remarks to the 2018 Young Black Leadership Council at the White House. “I am pleased to tell you that law enforcement has apprehended the suspect and has taken him into custody,” the president told the cheering group.
Trump also weighed in on the case, calling the mailing of the pipe bombs “terrorizing acts," and lauded the efforts of the various law-enforcement agencies connected with the arrest.
“We will prosecute them, him, her, whoever it may be, to the fullest extent of the law,” Trump said. “We must never allow political violence to take root in America and I’m committed to doing everything in my power to stop it and stop it now.”
No other suspects have been arrested, and it is still unclear if the accused acted alone. Sayoc was a registered Republican who first voted in the 2016 election.
All the pipe bombs that have been examined thus far have been either incomplete or defective in some way. It is still unclear whether the defects were intentional, i.e., perhaps the bombs were meant only to look real.
Sayoc’s arrest and his support for Trump have given ammunition to those in the media who have accused the president of stoking violence with his rhetoric. But Sayoc, if proven guilty, is obviously a disturbed individual who has run afoul of the law before. Like James Hodgkinson, the Bernie Sanders supporter who gunned down Representative Steve Scalise last year, it seems Sayoc was troubled before Trump ever came along.
If Trump is to blame for Sayoc, then many other politicians are to blame for Sayoc.
Photo: AP Images