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Package Bomb Suspect Cesar Sayoc Arrested, Charged With 5 Federal Crimes — Live Updates

(CBS News) — 

Cesar Sayoc fast facts:

  • Cesar Sayoc, 56, was arrested Friday in South Florida. He has a lengthy criminal history.
  • At least 14 explosive devices were found and authorities are still searching for more.
  • The bombs were addressed to prominent Democrats and vocal opponents of President Trump.
  • None of the homemade devices exploded; FBI Director Chris Wray said they are not "hoax devices."
  • Sayoc faces 5 federal charges and is expected to appear in court Monday.

Following a nationwide manhunt, federal authorities have arrested a 56-year-old Florida man accused of sending a series of explosive devices to prominent Democrats and critics of President Trump. The suspect, Cesar Sayoc, was arrested Friday and charged with five federal crimes. He faces up to 48 years in prison.

Sayoc is accused of sending at least 14 homemade bombs to politicians including former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, among others. According to a criminal complaint, investigators said packages sent to his intended targets included their photos with red X's through them.

A fingerprint and a cell phone signal led investigators to Sayoc, who has openly and aggressively threatened Democrats online. Sayoc has an extensive rap sheet and has been an outspoken supporter of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump praised the quick arrest, saying, "These terrorizing acts are despicable and have no place in our country." He also denied his political rhetoric may have inspired Sayoc.

Cesar Sayoc and the van seized by investigators in Plantation, Florida. (SOURCE: CBS News)
Cesar Sayoc and the van seized by investigators in Plantation, Florida. (SOURCE: CBS News)

Following his arrest, Sayoc was brought to an FBI office in South Florida where he was fingerprinted and processed, a law enforcement source told CBS News. He is expected to make his first court appearance on Monday.

Follow package bomb investigation updates below:

"We made a mistake" not suspending suspect's account, Twitter says

That account is one that belonged to Sayoc. After Ritchie's tweet went viral, the company responded by saying that "tweet clearly violated our rules and should have been removed."

Sayoc was a prolific poster and tweeterunder the name Cesar Alteri Ransazzo. He is a registered Republican who frequently lashed out at high profile politicians, actors and businessmen. He posted videos of himself at Trump rallies, and singling out many of the targets of the mail bombs including CNN..


Retired cop who arrested suspect in 2002 says he's "not well"

The Miami police investigator who arrested Cesar Sayoc for threatening to blow up an FPL building in 2002 told CBS Miami he was not surprised when he heard Sayoc was arrested in connection with the recent spate of package bombs.

"Unfortunately, in law enforcement things like this can come back up," said the retired investigator, who spoke on condition his name not be released.

"I think anybody who wants to kill somebody, there are some issues there," he added. "I obviously think this person is not well."

According to a 2002 police report, Sayoc "threatened to blow up FPL and that `It would be worse than September 11.'" He also threatened to kill the FPL representative "if they cut his electricity."

"There was nothing significant that stands out about that case," the former bomb squad investigator explained.

"We were getting a lot of calls right after 9/11," he said, adding the complaint also came in the midst of the anthrax mail threats that were terrorizing elected officials. "Normally the bomb squad gets a couple of calls a month. Back then [in 2002] we were getting fifteen a day."

The investigator, along with an agent from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, drove to Sayoc's apartment in Hallandale Beach to make the arrest. The police report listed Sayoc's occupation in 2002 as "Dry Cleaner."

The investigator said the arrest went smoothly and that Sayoc was cooperative. He eventually pleaded guilty to the bomb threat charge and was sentenced to one-year probation.

Now a private security consultant, the former bomb technician said soon after Sayoc was arrested Friday morning he started getting phone calls from former law enforcement colleagues. "I remembered the name, but not the picture," he said.

The former Miami police investigator said it was impressive, but not shocking, that federal agents made an arrest in the package bomb case so quickly. "The investigative tools available for law enforcement now are amazing," he said. "There are always leads available."

Trump rally crowd chants "CNN sucks"

At a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, President Trump criticized the media for its coverage of Cesar Sayoc's arrest.

"Political violence must never, ever be allowed in America and I will do everything in my power to stop it," Mr. Trump said, calling for an "end to the politics of personal destruction." He added that "the media has a major role to play, whether they want to or not." The crowd then chanted "CNN sucks," while Mr. Trump looked on.

"The media has tried to attack the incredible supporters of our movement," he said, segueing to discussing his administration's accomplishments. "We want honest coverage from the media. That's all we want." He also repeated his claim that he was a "nationalist," not a "globalist," but he wants "to help the globe."

Mr. Trump began the rally by addressing Sayoc's arrest, applauding the FBI, the Secret Service, and state and local law enforcement. "We love our police, and we love our law enforcement," he said.

Video captures moment agents took down suspect

Grainy surveillance footage captured the moment federal agents set off a loud blast to take down Cesar Sayoc in Plantation, Florida, early Friday morning. A cellphone signal led agents outside to an AutoZone, where dozens of law enforcement agents surrounded him near his white van.

Tom Fiore, who works across the street, saw the arrest go down. "He had the look: 'OK, I'm done. I surrender y'all got me,'" said Fiore.


Suspect expected to appear in court Monday

Cesar Sayoc was arrested and brought to an FBI office in South Florida where he was fingerprinted and processed on Friday, a law enforcement source told CBS News' Pat Milton. Sayoc remains in FBI custody, but it is unclear where he is being held.

Sayoc is expected to make his first court appearance on Monday. He is expected to be brought before a U.S. Magistrate at the federal courthouse in Miami.


​Authorities still scouring for suspicious packages

Officials have not ruled out finding more suspicious packages in the coming days. "We are still searching our system and will throughout the weekend," an official familiar with the ongoing investigation said.

The official said Attorney General Jeff Sessions "is fired up" about the investigation and said he was "very happy about the arrest.

The source suggested that what transpired over the last few days is good for the Sessions' understanding and appreciation for what FBI and other agencies do in the midst of these major investigations.


Package bomb sent to Sen. Kamala Harris

A Northern California postal worker prevented a package bomb from being sent to a district office for Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, the senator's office said in a statement Friday. The FBI said in court documents that the bomb was one of the 13 allegedly sent by Cesar Sayoc.

A U.S. official told CBS News that federal officials and police were investigating a suspicious package addressed to Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer that was similar to the 13 package bombs. The package was discovered at a different Northern California postal facility.


Suspicious package sent to Tom Steyer

A U.S. official told CBS News that federal officials and police were investigating a suspicious package addressed to Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer. The package was found at a postal facility in Burlingame, California, which is in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The package was similar to bombs discovered this week. In a statement, Steyer, who has called for the impeachment of President Trump, said that the country faced more threats "than just one isolated terrorist in Florida.

"Whether it's voter suppression, voter intimidation, attacks on our free press, gerrymandering, or attempted violence -- the trust and norms that are the actual basis for our civil society and political system are being eroded," Steyer said.


Key fingerprint found late this week, FBI director says

Investigators found the fingerprint that led them to Cesar Sayoc late this week, FBI Director Chris Wray said. Analysts had only begun examining the package bomb that provided the print on Thursday.

The fingerprint was lifted from the envelope of the package bomb sent to Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, the director said. Wray told reporters that he was confident a suspect would be found once investigators had the print.

Wray wouldn't say whether anyone else was involved with the bombs, saying the investigation was active and ongoing. "We do believe we've caught the right guy," the director said.


Purported photo of van shows target on Clinton

A picture shows what is believed to be a van seized in the package bomb investigation before the van was seized.
A picture shows what is believed to be a van seized in the package bomb investigation before the van was seized.

A picture believed to be of a van seized by authorities in the package bomb investigation shows a sticker with a target around former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's face. The picture was taken on an earlier date before authorities seized the van late Friday morning.

Other stickers show President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence giving the thumbs-up sign. Another sticker read "CNN sucks" in all capital letters.

The van was taken to the FBI's field office in Miramar, Florida.


Suspect seen on video at Trump rally

Cesar Sayoc: Package bomb suspect at a Trump MAGA rally by CBS News on YouTube

Video has emerged of Cesar Altieri Sayoc, the package bomb suspect, at a rally for President Trump. The video was recorded in Cincinnati in October 2016.


Trump says "terrorizing acts" were "despicable"

Trump speaks on arrest of suspect linked to suspicious packages by CBS News on YouTube

President Trump congratulated multiple law enforcement agencies for arresting a suspect in the package bomb investigation. "We have the best in the world, and we just showed it," the president said while addressing a group of young black leaders in the East Room of the White House.

The president didn't identify the suspect, which several law enforcement sources told CBS News is Cesar Altieri Sayoc, but he said the suspect would be prosecuted "to the fullest extent of the law." He said that the "terrorizing acts" were "despicable and have no place in our country."

"We must never allow political violence to take root in America," Mr. Trump said.


White van seized after arrest in Florida

Federal authorities covered and seized a white van in Florida after the Department of Justice confirmed an arrest had been made in the bomb investigation. The suspect was arrested at an auto repair shop in Plantation, Florida.

Aerial footage captured images of the van before it was taken away. Some of the van's windows were covered with stickers.


Clapper package contained apparent pipe bomb

New York police credited an alert postal worker with finding an apparent pipe bomb at a post office Friday morning. John Miller, the police department's deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, said at a press conference that the bomb was in a package consistent with others seen this week.

Sources have confirmed to CBS News that the package was addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.


Wasserman Schultz calls use of name "disturbing"

Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said it was "disturbing" to have her name appear on the phony return addresses of bombs sent through the mail. She is a former head of the Democratic National Committee.

Wasserman Schultz said she was proud of her staff for quickly returning to work after a package bomb intended for former Attorney General Eric Holder was instead delivered to her district office in Florida. "You will not knock us down," she said.


Trump ties "'Bomb' stuff" to GOP "momentum"

President Trump implied that press coverage of the mail bombs was slowing Republican momentum ahead of the midterm elections. "News not talking politics," the president said.

Earlier Friday morning, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Mr. Trump was " receiving constant information as it is available" about the new packages.


Photo of package sent to James Clapper

CBS New York station WCBS-TV obtained a photo of the suspicious package addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The package was intended to be sent to CNN's offices at New York's Time Warner Center.

Since leaving the government, Clapper has worked for CNN as a contributor.

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