Florida: A man in Florida with a lengthy criminal recode was arrested and charged on Friday with sending 13 suspicious packages containing improvised explosive devices to high profile individuals across the country.
According to reports, the arrest came on the same day law enforcement found three more devices in Florida, New York and California. None of the 13 devices was detonated. All the packages were sent to people who have criticised or clashed with the current US president Donald Trump.
Authorities arrested 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc, who has a criminal record dating back to decades that included a past arrest for making a bomb threat.
Sayoc was charged with transporting explosives across the state, illegally mailing explosives, threatening former presidents and other and assaulting federal official, according to charging documents.
If convicted, he could face decades in prison. It was not clear if had an attorney.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the investigators were able to trace Sayoc after finding a fingerprint on an envelope containing a bomb sent to Rep Maxine Waters and the same DNA was found on two other devices was a possible match.
Inside the package sent to former President Barack Obama, former CIA director John Brennan and Waters – were a picture of each with red “X” marks on them.
However, Wray declined to comment on whether the devices could have detonated, saying that the investigators are “still trying to determine whether or not they were functional” but said that the devices weren't hoaxed.
According to the complaint, the windows of Sayoc’s van were covered with images including critical of CNN. It also identifies a Twitter account that FBI believes Sayoc used and noted that account contained misspellings consistent with those seen on packages.
The complaint stated that one post made on Wednesday criticised George Soros, the billionaire activist, who two days earlier had received the package.
Sayoc’s previous run-ins with law enforcement date back to at least when he was 29-year-old. He was previously charged with larceny, grand theft and fraud. In 2002, Miami police arrested him for a bomb threat, a felony. Sayoc pleaded guilty without trial and was sentenced probation.
As per the police report, in August 2002, Sayoc called Florida Power and Light, a power company and threatened to blow them up. “It would be worse than September 11,” Sayoc said, He also threatened the company’s representative with physical harm if his electricity was turned off.
Daniel Aaronson, an attorney who represented Sayoc over the years, said that none of his clients was “as polite and as courteous and as respectful to me” as Sayoc was.
On Friday, Trump called the suspected bomb packages “terrorising acts” and praised law enforcement officers for the arrest in Florida.
“We will prosecute them, him, her, whomever it may be, to the fullest extent of the law. We must never allow political violence to take root in America and I’m committed to doing everything in my power as President to stop it and stop it now,” Trump said.
News of the arrest emerged as investigators recovered latest explosive devices, packages sent to Senator Cory Booker, former director of national intelligence James R Clapper Jr and Senator Kamala Harris.
FBI said the package was “similar in appearance to others” found this week.
A package addressed to Harris found Friday at a Sacramento mail facility was the 13th device officials said they had linked to Sayoc.
The only common link between the people who received devices is that they are prominent figures who have publicly clashed with Donald Trump....