Federal authorities made an arrest on Friday in connection with the nationwide bombing campaign against outspoken critics of President Donald Trump, a significant breakthrough in a case that has gripped the country in the days leading up to the midterm elections.
A law enforcement official identified the suspect as Cesar Sayoc Jr., 56, of Aventura, Florida, just north of Miami. It was not clear whether authorities were seeking other suspects or if Sayoc acted alone.
The arrest came even as the crude pipe bombs continued to appear across the country. One, found in Florida, was addressed to Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; another, discovered in a Manhattan post office, was sent to James R. Clapper Jr., a former director of national intelligence; and a third was intercepted before it reached Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.
A fourth bomb, found on Friday in a mail facility in California, was addressed to Tom Steyer, a prominent Democratic donor, a person close to him said.
Sayoc, a registered Republican, has a lengthy criminal history in Florida dating back to 1991 that includes felony theft, drug and fraud charges, as well as being arrested and accused of threatening to use a bomb, public records show.
His criminal record from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement indicates that at the time of his last arrest in 2015, he was 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds. He has brown eyes, black hair and a scar on his left arm, the records said, and was born in New York. The records listed Sayoc’s occupation as “manager.”
According to a 2012 bankruptcy petition filed in Miami, Sayoc resided at the time at his mother’s home. “Lives w/mom,” a handwritten note on the petition said. “Has no furniture.”
Sayoc was arrested around 11 a.m. Friday at an AutoZone shop in Plantation, Florida, about 20 miles from Aventura, officials said. Patrol cars shut down the surrounding streets, leaving rows of businesses inaccessible for part of the morning. The authorities also seized and towed away Sayoc’s white van.
Some residents of Aventura reported seeing a similar white van, the windows of which were plastered with a thick collage of pro-Trump stickers, often parked in the lot of a local strip mall, the Aventura Waterways shopping center. Photos of the van showed that one of the stickers depicted Trump standing in front of flames and the American flag. Another was of Hillary Clinton’s face in the crosshairs of a rifle scope. A third said: “CNN Sucks.”