Prolific Mail Bomb Suspect Identified, Arrested, and Charged

A collaboration of federal and local law enforcement agencies identified and apprehended Cesar Altieri Sayoc Jr., 56, suspected of mailing at least 15 improvised explosive devices across the country to political opponents of President Donald Trump, the New York Times reports.

All of the packages had return address labels bearing the misspelled name of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat representing part of southern Florida. Each posted with six first-class stamps, and the IEDs were contained in plain manila envelopes.

Authorities said they were able to pull a fingerprint from one of the bomb packages and collect Mr. Sayoc’s DNA from two others., according to the Times Using information collected by the United States Postal Service, investigators had focused their attention on certain Florida postal centers. 

Around 11:00 a.m. on Friday, October 26, law enforcement arrested Sayoc outside an auto parts store in Plantation, Florida. Authorities also seized and towed away Sayoc’s white van, covered in decals lambasting the individuals to whom authorities believe Sayoc sent IEDs.

Sayoc was first interviewed under a national security exception that allows defendants to be questioned without being advised of their rights to a lawyer, according to the Times. After he was given his Miranda warnings and told he could have a lawyer, “he invoked his right to counsel pretty quickly,” and declined to answer further questions, the Times reported.

The same day Sayoc was arrested, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that Sayoc was charged with federal crimes including the interstate transportation of an explosive, the illegal mailing of explosives and making a threat against a former president and others. Sayoc was charged in Federal District Court in Manhattan, the district over which federal prosecutors have jurisdiction over five of the bombs mailed earlier that week.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said the criminal investigation was still “active.” Prosecutors have since informed the judge presiding over Sayoc’s case that the FBI has searched Sayoc’s electronic devices and discovered files containing the addresses of his intended victims, as well as return labels that match those used on the padded mailing envelopes carrying the IEDs. According to prosecutors, that information “indicates that the defendant started planning the attack as early as July 2018."

Files on Sayoc’s laptop also contained addresses for "numerous additional targets." The FBI is warning each of those individuals, prosecutors wrote. According to their letter, “[t]he evidence of the defendant’s terror campaign is still being collected but is already overwhelming.”

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