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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.
"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.
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.
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."
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.