Florida man, Cesar Sayoc Jr., arrested in probe of mail bombs targeting Obama, Clinton and other Trump critics

  • Cesar Sayoc Jr., 56, was arrested in Florida on Friday morning in connection with the investigation of 12 mail bombs sent to former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, George Soros, Cory Booker, John Brennan, Robert De Niro and other leading critics of President Donald Trump.
  • Sayoc, a resident of Aventura, Florida, is expected to face federal criminal charges, according to NBC News.
  • The Justice Department has scheduled a 2:30 p.m. press conference in the case.

A 56-year-old man, Cesar Sayoc Jr., was arrested Friday morning in Florida in the investigation of 12 suspected mail bombs sent to former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other leading Democratic critics of President Donald Trump.

Sayoc, a registered Republican voter who lives in Aventura, Florida, will face federal criminal charges for the mailed devices, according to NBC News.

The Brooklyn, New York, native, previously was arrested, in Florida in 2002, on a charge of threatening to throw a bomb. He received probation in that case, without having been convicted.

Read more: Cesar Sayoc charged with five federal crimes in bomb plot

"I'm as surprised as anybody," said Daniel Lurvey, a Florida criminal defense lawyer who represented Sayoc in several cases in which Sayoc had been charged with theft from retail stores.

At the time, Lurvey said, Sayoc was doing work as a bouncer for a group of male dancers similar to Chippendales.

"He was a normal guy. Somebody I would never think he'd be capable of something like this, if he is responsible," Lurvey said.

The attorney said Sayoc never discussed anything "political" during their meetings about his criminal cases.

Records show that Sayoc also was arrested in 2015 for violating probation in a case in which he first was charged with grand theft and battery.

A mugshot of suspected package bomber Cesar Sayoc Jr. 
A mugshot of suspected package bomber Cesar Sayoc Jr. 

Sayoc also had previously been arrested in Florida on charges of possession of steroids.

In 1994, a woman who had the same name as Sayoc's grandmother accused him of domestic violence in the civil division of domestic violence court in Broward County, Florida. If it was Sayoc's grandmother, she would have been about 80 years old at the time.

Sayoc filed for bankruptcy in 2012, public records show.

The Justice Department has scheduled a news conference in the case at 2:30 p.m., Eastern time.

Police on Friday seized a van that had been parked outside an AutoZone store in Plantation, Florida.

FBI investigate a van owned by a suspect who was arrested in relation to the a series of package bombs that were sent to leading democrats, in Plantation, Fla on Oct. 26th, 2018.
FBI investigate a van owned by a suspect who was arrested in relation to the a series of package bombs that were sent to leading democrats, in Plantation, Fla on Oct. 26th, 2018.

Investigators were examining a white van plastered with stickers carrying Trump's name and the presidential seal, according to MSNBC. The network said authorities were looking at "right-wing paraphernalia" found at the scene.

Trump, during a speech Friday afternoon, said, "I am pleased to inform you that law enforcement has apprehended the suspect and taken him into custody."

"It's an incredible job by law enforcement, and we have carried out a far-reaching federal and local and state investigation to find the person or persons responsible for the events," the president said.

"These terrorizing acts are despicable, and have no place in our country. No place. I have instructed authorities to spare no resource or expense in finding those responsible, and bringing them to swift and certain justice."

Source: Cesar Sayoc Jr. via Facebook

The first mail bomb was discovered Monday in the mailbox at the Westchester County, New York, home of billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who is a frequent subject of right-wing conspiracy theories.

Since then, authorities have said suspicious packages have been found addressed to Obama, Clinton, ex-Vice President Joe Biden, former CIA Director John Brennan, former national intelligence chief James Clapper, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and actor Robert De Niro.

Biden and Waters were sent two such packages.

A package containing a "live explosive device" according to police, received at the Time Warner Center which houses the CNN New York bureau, in New York City, U.S. is shown in this handout picture provided October 24, 2018. 
CNN/Handout | Reuters
A package containing a "live explosive device" according to police, received at the Time Warner Center which houses the CNN New York bureau, in New York City, U.S. is shown in this handout picture provided October 24, 2018.