August 22, 2019
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What we know about the suspected mail bomber arrested in Florida

Carline Jean | AP
Carline Jean | AP
The van that federal agents are investigating in connection with package bombs that were sent to high-profile critics of President Donald Trump is transported on a flatbed tow truck on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018 in Miramar, Fla. Federal authorities took Cesar Sayoc into custody Friday in connection with the mail-bomb scare that earlier widened to 12 suspicious packages sent to prominent Democrats from coast to coast.

Next to the pro-Trump stickers plastered all over the white van that authorities believe belongs to Cesar Sayoc are the names and photos of dozens of prominent Democrats and media figures – former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, former first lady Michelle Obama, former attorneys general Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, filmmaker Michael Moore, “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd.

Several of them are framed by gunsights.

Authorities on Friday arrested Sayoc and identified him as a suspect in the sprawling mail-bomb scare that included at least a dozen suspicious packages sent to political and media figures, including many pictured on the van.

[Everything we know about Cesar Sayoc so far]

Sayoc, a 56-year-old registered Republican, lives in Aventura, Florida, near the facility from where many of the packages were mailed, authorities said.

Sayoc, who was previously known to law enforcement officials, has been arrested nearly a dozen times in Florida, including a 2002 arrest for making a bomb threat. His criminal record in the state extends to the early 1990s, starting with his arrest for larceny at the age of 29, according to state records. Other charges of larceny, grand theft and fraud would soon follow across the southern part of the state.

In the 2002 bomb threat case, Sayoc pleaded guilty to the felony without a trial and was sentenced to probation, the records show.

He declared bankruptcy in 2012, according to a court filing that said he lived with his mother at that time.

[Florida man charged after weeklong bomb-package scare]

A lawsuit in which Sayoc was deposed said he had been a manager at a strip club called Stir Crazy for 35 years. In that same deposition, Sayoc claimed that he was also a pro wrestler, a Chippendales dancer, a professional soccer player in Milan, and an arena football player in Arizona

Relatives of Sayoc could not be immediately reached for comment Friday. An attorney who had previously represented Sayoc declined through his law office to speak Friday, saying: “We know why you’re calling, and we have no comment.”

Social media profiles that apparently belonged to Sayoc were filled with conspiracy theories and antipathy toward liberals.

One tweet features a picture of Holder, one of the people a pipe bomb was addressed to. “This man murdered for political reasons and got away with it,” the tweet says.

A Facebook page that is believed to have been Sayoc’s and was disabled shortly after his arrest was filled with pro-Trump, anti-liberal memes.

[Trump says media coverage of explosive devices slowing GOP momentum ahead of elections]

Law enforcement officials have not publicly verified that the accounts were Sayoc’s.

Sayoc attended Brevard College where he was listed as a member of the soccer team, according to a yearbook from the North Carolina school. He also was listed as a member of the Canterbury Club, a religious organization. A yearbook photo showed him posing behind someone in a bishop’s robe.

His arrest Friday came after authorities found a dozen packages across multiple states, all of them addressed to prominent Democrats, Trump critics and the news network CNN.

None of the devices have detonated, and no one has been injured, but the incidents put officials on high alert as they worried how many additional devices may be out there.

After news of Sayoc’s arrest broke, FBI agents and other law enforcement personnel could be seen draping a blue tarp over a van in a South Florida parking lot before loading it onto a truck and driving it away.

[Bomb threats highlight risk of violent political rhetoric]

President Donald Trump, who is featured on many of the photos on Sayoc’s van, praised the law enforcement officers who made the arrest.

“We will prosecute them, him, her, whoever it may be, to the fullest extent of the law,” the president said at the White House. “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.”

The Washington Post’s Shawn Boburg, Andrew Ba Tran, Julie Tate, Alex Horton, Abby Ohlheiser and Alex Crites contributed to this report.

 



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