Cesar Sayoc was arrested for allegedly mailing pipe-bombs to former or current Democratic-elected officials, who had publicly confronted President Trump. He was inculpated with 13 such devices.
The FBI agents have booked Cesar Sayoc (56), a Florida man with a long criminal record for mailing homemade bombs to eminent carpers of President Donald Trump. A stag fingerprint and an array of misspellings are what helped the FBI agents and the case is now politically charged and has emulsified the next month’s congressional elections.
Cesar Sayoc, a former pizza deliveryman, strip-club worker and an ardent supporter of the president was arrested on Friday and was charged with crimes related to the homemade pipe bombs sent this week to former president Barack Obama, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and others.
He was inculpated with 13 such devices, which were characterized as IEDs (improvised explosive devices); a police official stated that he is likely to be charged with sending another device (14th) to Tom Steyer, a major Democrat donor, but the package was deflected in California.
Sayoc was booked 96 hours after a pipe bomb was found delivered to George Soros, a billionaire activist on Monday. He was arrested outside an auto supply store in Plantation.
Agents did try to question him immediately but Sayoc did not respond and instantly demanded a lawyer.
Trump’s response on the situation to the reporters was that he does not believe that he should be blamed or take the blame for the alleged crimes.
On Friday, the nation’s high ranking officials assembled at Justice Department HQ in Washington to announce that the case, which had left the government offices and agencies alarmed, is now settled.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated, “Let this be a lesson to anyone, regardless of their political beliefs, that we will bring the full force of law against anyone who attempts to use threats, intimidation, and outright violence to further an agenda.”
The investigators across the country continued their lookout for potential bombs even if Sayoc was imprisoned. On Friday, 3 other bombs were found in Florida, New York, and California - and believe that there are more undiscovered packages in the mail system somewhere in the US.
FBI Director Christopher A Wray said that they were able to pinpoint Sayoc as they found a fingerprint on an envelope containing the bomb and that the DNA matched with a sample previously taken from him during an arrest in Florida earlier and then went forth with gathering his cell phone records and real-time surveillance of his location and activities.
The investigators are still trying to determine if the bombs are functional, but did mention that it contains potential explosive materials and are “not hoax devices.”
According to the 11-page complaint signed by FBI Special Agent David Brown, inside each package sent to four of the targets - Obama, former CIA director John Brennan, Soros, and Waters – there was a picture of the same with a red “X” mark.
The complaint also emphasized Sayoc’s aversion towards the targeted individuals and organisations including the CNN where two packages were addressed to.
A Twitter account has also been identified, which is believed to be used by Sayoc. Some of the postings constituted the same misspellings as in some of the addresses on the pipe-bomb packages, like the name of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz were misspelled as “Shultz” on both the package and Twitter post.
Sayoc’s previous encounter with the law enforcement was for theft when he was 29, according to state records. In 2002, he was booked for a bomb threat made to Florida Power and Light, a power company. He pleaded guilty without trial and was sentenced to trial.
Speaking at the White House on Friday, Trump praised law enforcement’s effective work and pledged to litigate the accused “to the fullest extent of the law”. When questioned about the pro-Trump stickers on the van reportedly driven by the suspect, Trump responded that he did not see his face on the van and that he heeded that the accused was just a person who preferred him (Trump) over others.
Also, Trump stated that coverage of the mail bombs has hindered with Republican “momentum” ahead of the November 6 midterm elections.
One of the targets, Wasserman Schultz, said the case had been “gut-wrenching” for her and was like a warning to the entire nation against the kind of heated wordiness used by the president. “This is definitely domestic terrorism, no doubt about it in my mind,” former director of national intelligence James R Clapper Jr said on CNN, adding, “This is not going to silence the administration’s critics.”
The only common thread between the people, who were sent devices, is that they are eminent figures — many current or former Democratic-elected officials — who have publicly confronted Trump.
The list of targets began with Soros, then Obama, Clinton and former attorney general Eric H Holder Jr. Then the packages sent to Brennan and CNN, Waters, former vice president Joe Biden, and actor Robert De Niro.
Last Updated 6:53 PM IST