The FBI arrested Cesar Sayoc Friday and charged him with five crimes stemming from the probe into 13 pipe bombs sent to prominent critics of President Trump after finding his fingerprints on one of the packages.
FBI Director Christopher Wray described this week’s investigation, which within a couple of days led to an arrest, as worthy of a Hollywood movie, with potential DNA, the fingerprint and other evidence leading to Mr. Sayoc.
“We do believe that we’ve caught the right guy,” he said.
Mr. Wray said the devices were not hoaxes, as some online commenters had speculated. He said they found what he described as explosive material, clocks and batteries in the devices.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said they have already brought five charges, including threats against a former president, threats to interstate commerce, assaulting former and current federal officers, and interstate mailing of an explosive device.
“We will not tolerate such lawlessness, especially not political violence,” Mr. Sessions said.
If convicted, Mr. Sayoc could face 58 years in prison, Mr. Sessions said.
At the White House, President Trump called the pipe-bomb mailings “terrorizing acts” and vowed prosecution.
“Americans must unify and we must show the world we are united together,” he said.
Mr. Sessions acknowledged the startling list of Democrats targeted, but declined to speculate on motives.
“I don’t know, other than what you might normally suspect. He appears to be a partisan,” he said.
Mr. Wray said it’s too early to talk motives.
A public records search for Mr. Sayoc revealed multiple run-ins with law enforcement dating back to 1991. He has been charged in the past with third-degree grand theft, domestic violence, possession of a controlled substance, battery, and “a threat to throw, place project or discharge … destructive device.”
Court records also reveal that he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 2012.
Voter records show he is registered as a Republican.
Authorities also seized a white van at an AutoZone in Plantation, Florida, and carted the van away under a blue tarp.
The van’s windows were covered with political stickers, including ones that appeared to say “CNN Sucks” and other pro-Trump and anti-Democrat messages. The stickers tracked President Trump’s campaign-trail rhetoric.
Not all of the targets of the 13 bomb-mailings detected so far have been identified. Those that have include former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Rep. Maxine Waters, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, actor Robert De Niro and Sen. Cory Booker, New Jersey Democrat.
The device sent to Mr. Booker was discovered at a mail sorting facility in Opa Locka, Florida, where authorities believe the suspected packages were shipped.
Speaking to reporters outside the White House Friday afternoon, the president once again praised law enforcement for their efforts and said the arrest was “like finding a needle in a haystack.”
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