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Fingerprint Led FBI To Package Bomb Suspect Cesar Sayoc

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Federal authorities have arrested a man in Plantation in connection to a series of package bombs that were sent to top Democrats and President Trump critics.

Cesar Sayoc Old Mug
Cesar Sayoc mugshot (Source: Broward Sheriff's Office)

The man was taken into custody at an Auto Zone store on State Road 7 at SW 6th Street at around 10:30 a.m.

A "loud explosion" was heard at the time of the arrest, possibly from a flash bang device used by FBI in the course of making the arrest.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, they were led to 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc through DNA evidence.

The FBI "uncovered a latent fingerprint from one of the envelopes containing an IED that had been sent to Maxine Waters. We have confirmed this fingerprint is that of Cesar Sayoc," said FBI Director Christopher Wray at a news conference Friday afternoon.

Wray cautioned that just because the FBI has a suspect in custody, that does mean its over.

"Today's arrest does not mean we are out of the woods. There may be other packages in transit now and other packages on the way. We need the help of every citizen, law enforcement, everyone we've got, to help with this investigation in the days to come," said Wray.

When asked if Sayoc acted alone, Wray replied "This is very much an active and ongoing investigation. We do believe we've caught the right guy, but we also know that there is an ongoing investigation, there still work to be done and plenty of unanswered questions."

Wray added that it is too early to say what Sayoc's motive was.

Law enforcement officials confirmed suspect Sayoc was arrested and brought to the FBI office in Miami, where he was fingerprinted and processed.

On Friday evening, he remained in the custody of the FBI. He is expected to make his first appearance in court Monday afternoon at 2 p.m., where he will face a judge at the federal courthouse in Miami.

A law enforcement official said late Friday that Sayoc had been living in a white van after he got kicked out by his parents' house.

The official said, Sayoc told investigators that the "pipe bombs wouldn't have hurt anyone and that he didn't want to hurt anyone."

Sayoc has now retained an attorney, so the questioning has stopped, the official said.

Sayoc's last known address is in Aventura. He reportedly has ties to New York and a criminal history.

Sayoc has been charged with interstate transport of explosives, illegal mailing of explosives, threats against former presidents and other persons, threatening interstate commerce, and assaulting current and former federal officers.

READ: Federal Complaint Against Cesar Sayoc

"The defendant's conduct as charged is cowardly and reprehensible and totally anathema to our democracy. And now defendant faces a potential total of 48 years in prison," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman for the Southern District of New York said.

Pipe Bomb Suspect White Van Auto Zone

The FBI wrapped a blue tarp over the top of Sayoc's white van in the parking lot, to preserve any evidence, before it was put on a flatbed truck and taken to an FBI facility in Miramar.

That van is covered in pro-Trump and anti-Hillary Clinton stickers, along with stickers with a negative message about CNN.

There were also pictures of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, CNN's Van Jones, filmmaker Michael Moore and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein with red targets or crosshairs over their images. An edited image that appeared to be former President Barack Obama riding a tricycle also had a target on it.

Another window had images professing more support for Trump that read, "My President." One graphic read, "We vote pro-life."

Cesar Sayoc Van

Some CBSMiami followers on Twitter posted pictures of the van and wrote, "I have some pictures of this van I saw him at a stoplight one day and thought is was very strange."

There was more than one South Floridian who has seen this van driving around South Florida and thought it was a bit different.


According to a law enforcement official, Sayoc was living in the van after having been kicked out of his parents' home in Aventura.

Friday, the existence of four more package bombs were revealed by authorities, bringing the total number to at least 13.

A suspicious package was found at an Opa-locka mail facility, it was addressed to New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.

It was discovered Thursday night and it is similar in appearance to the others that were sent to prominent Democrats and critics of President Donald Trump.

In New York Friday morning, police responded to a suspicious package at a postal facility in midtown Manhattan. The package was similar to the others and was addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper at the Time Warner Center where CNN has its New York bureau.

Suspicious package addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper found at mail facility on 52nd Street in Midtown, Manhattan. (Source: cbslocal/New York)

Similar package bombs were intercepted in California for Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California and major Democratic donor Tom Steyer.

On Thursday, the FBI and the Miami-Dade Police Department bomb squad spent hours at a United States Postal Service mailing distribution center in Opa-locka.

CBS News confirmed several packages may have originated at the facility. Postal inspectors have been poring through millions of pieces of mail, searching for similar packages.

The FBI stated every single suspicious package has the name and address of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz's Sunrise office.

Friday morning, Wasserman Schultz said it was 'disturbing' and 'devastating' to have her name used on the package bombs.

All of the parcels were sent in similar packaging and the devices were made to appear like active bombs. Investigators are working to determine whether the bombs were just poorly designed or if they were simply meant to scare the recipients.

(©2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)

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