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Cesar Sayoc arrest: Florida suspect faces 48 years in prison over pipe bombs targeting Trump critics

A dozen explosive devices and suspicious packages intercepted by authorities in last few days

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
,Clark Mindock,Sarah Harvard
Friday 26 October 2018 21:28 BST
President Trump praises law enforcement for mail-bombing arrest

On Friday, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that Cesar Sayoc Jr, the suspect connected to the mailing of more than a dozen parcel bombs and suspicious packages to senior Democrats and prominent critics of Donald Trump, had been charged with five federal crimes.

The federal felony charges include interstate transportation of explosives, illegal mailing of explosives and threats against a former president among others. In a press conference, Mr Sessions said Mr Sayoc faced up to 58 years in prison if found guilty.

“We will not tolerate such lawlessness, especially political violence,” he said.

Several moments later, however, the Justice Department said Mr Sessions had inaccurate information about the alleged bomber’s prison time. Mr Sayoc faces 48 years in prison, not 58.

When asked if there are other suspects, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the investigation is active and ongoing. Officials believe there may be other explosive devices in the mail system.

The federal authorities were able to find Mr Sayoc after finding a fingerprint on one of the envelopes sent to California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, which has been confirmed to belong to him, Wray said. Investigators also believe there is DNA on other packages Mr Sayoc sent.

The authorities also seized Mr Sayoc’s white van. The vehicle was covered in stickers featuring Mr Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, anti-gay symbols, Ku Klux Klan paraphernalia, and a lynching of a black person. One of the stickers read “CNN sucks,” echoing a chant often said in Mr Trump’s rallies.

The prosecutor for Mr Sayoc's case is US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman.

“This is an ongoing and active investigation. We will not rest until these crimes are fully investigated,” Mr Berman said.

Mr Sessions said the mail bomb suspect appears to be partisan, but said he does not know why Democratic political figures were targeted.

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Two weeks prior to sending pipe bombs, Mr Sayoc harassed and threatened Democratic strategist Rochelle Ritchie. Ms Ritchie reported him to Twitter. The social media site responded by saying that Mr Sayoc did not commit any violations.

Mr Sayoc’s Facebook page, listed under the name Cesar Altieri Randazzo, is filled with right-wing propaganda. He appeared to have shared posts and articles from right-wing pages, Breitbart and Fox News. One of the posts Mr Sayoc shares is from a Facebook page called “Handcuffs for Hillary.”

A Facebook spokesperson said it removed multiple posts from Mr Sayoc’s account for violating its community standards. Some of the removals were the result of Facebook users reporting Mr Sayoc’s posts for violations. Others were identified by Facebook through its detection systems.

The violations, however, were not severe enough for the company to remove the account.

If you want to see how the day progressed, follow the live blog below​


It is believed that the suspect will be prosecuted in the Southern District of New York.

Chris Stevenson26 October 2018 06:46

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the latest suspicious packages being recovered across America.

Lucy Anna Gray26 October 2018 14:10

Two new packages have been discovered today, one addressed to Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat, and another to former intelligence director James Clapper and CNN

Clemence Michallon26 October 2018 14:15

The latest package was found at a mail sorting facility in Florida and was addressed to the Democratic senator from New Jersey, the FBI said on Twitter

Clemence Michallon26 October 2018 14:15

New York City police were investigating a suspicious package at a postal facility on Friday morning as well, according to authorities.

Clemence Michallon26 October 2018 14:16

Investigators have zeroed in on a postal facility in Opa-Locka, northwest of Miami late, where it's understood that a number of the packages were mailed from.

Clemence Michallon26 October 2018 14:16

Today's discoveries bring the total number of suspicious packages - containing either explosives or powder - to 12.

Clemence Michallon26 October 2018 14:18

Read the latest updates on the Cory Booker discovery here.

We've got the latest on the package sent to CNN's offices here.

Clemence Michallon26 October 2018 14:19

The package intended for CNN was intercepted at a postal facility in Manhattan.

Clemence Michallon26 October 2018 14:27

The FBI said the package to Booker was intercepted in Florida. The one discovered at a Manhattan postal facility was addressed to Clapper c/o CNN.

Clemence Michallon26 October 2018 14:28

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