Federal authorities said Friday they have arrested a male suspect in Florida in connection with the recent mailing of 13 suspected explosive packages to prominent Democrats and their supporters nationwide.
They identified the suspect as Cesar Sayoc, 56, from Aventura, Florida, adding they used DNA and fingerprint evidence in his arrest. Sayoc, who reportedly used to live in New York and had prior arrests for terroristic threats, faces five federal charges and up to 58 years in prison, they said.
«These terrorizing acts are despicable and have no place in our country,» President Donald Trump said at the White House, noting that the mailer will be prosecuted «to the fullest extent of the law.»
«We must never allow political violence to take root in America. We cannot let it happen. And I am committed to doing everything in my power as president to stop it. And to stop it now.»
The development came after authorities discovered the latest three suspicious packages Friday, addressed respectively to former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and California Sen. Kamala Harris.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray said there could still be more suspicious packages with possible explosive devices out there.
«Though we’re still analyzing the devices in our laboratory, these are not hoax devices,» he said at a joint news conference with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other officials at the Justice Department.
The package addressed to Clapper in care of CNN’s New York bureau was found at a Manhattan postal facility. The parcel to Booker was intercepted in Florida and the package to Harris was discovered at a Sacramento postal facility.
A total of 13 packages appearing to contain pipe bombs have been discovered since Monday after being put in the mail to public figures including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and former first lady Hillary Clinton.
U.S. media reported earlier that investigators were following up on leads in Florida, believing that a number of the explosive devices were mailed from the state. None of the devices has so far detonated.
The wave of suspicious package attacks came less than two weeks before midterm elections that could reshape the Republican-controlled Congress.
The targets, also including actor Robert De Niro, billionaire George Soros and CNN, are all critics of Trump, who still assails Clinton at rallies and routinely calls the cable network «fake news.»
«I thank God no one’s been hurt, and I thank the brave and resourceful security and law enforcement people for protecting us,» De Niro said in a statement.
De Niro, who expressed his desire to punch Trump in the face during the 2016 presidential campaign, added, «There is something more powerful than bombs, and that’s your vote. People MUST vote!»
All — Kyodo News+