MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Federal authorities charged a Florida man with mailing suspected bombs to high-profile targets. Cesar Sayoc is accused of mailing 13 explosive devices.
The 56-year-old Sayoc has a long criminal record. In 2002, he was convicted of threatening to throw a bomb at a Florida utility representative. He was also arrested in Minnesota in 1995 and charged with two felonies. Those cases were dismissed 10 years later.
Court documents filed in Hennepin County show that 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc was charged in 1995 with fifth-degree drug possession and theft by swindle. A decade later, the charges were dropped. (The mugshot above was taken in 2005).
According to the complaint, Sayoc was 33 when he went to health supplement stores in the Twin Cities and purchased large amounts of vitamins and supplements. He allegedly returned the items, but with the merchandise taken out and replaced with water or beans.
When he was arrested, he allegedly was in possession of crack cocaine, which police say was found on the floor of the squad car, according to a criminal complaint.
The suspected crack was destroyed before ever being brought to the city chemist. As such, the case against him was dropped. It’s unclear why it took 10 years, the newspaper reports.
It was a fingerprint that eventually led investigators to Sayoc on Friday. Authorities arrested him at an auto shop in Plantation, Florida, where they also seized a white van covered in pro-Donald Trump and anti-Hillary Clinton stickers.
“They have moved swiftly and professionally, using extraordinary technical expertise to apprehend the alleged responsible,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “This is a law-and-order administration we will not tolerate such lawlessness especially such political violence.”
While the FBI is still examining the packages sent, the organization confirmed they were not hoax devices. The FBI lab delivered crucial evidence, including a possible DNA connection.
“based on their initial analysis they uncovered a latent fingerprint from one of the envelopes containing an IED that had been sent to Congress woman Maxine Waters. We have confirmed this fingerprint is that of Cesar Sayoc,” FBI Director Chris Wray said.
President Trump called the act despicable.
“We must never allow political violence to take root in America, can not let it happen and I’m committed to doing everything in my power as president to stop it,” Trump said.
Sayoc is charged with five federal crimes. He faces up to 58 years in prison. Sayoc will make an initial court appearance in Florida, and will then be moved to federal court in Manhattan, where the first packages were sent.