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Live Updates: FBI Arrests Man in Connection to Mail Bomb Campaign

This frame grab from video provided by WPLG-TV shows a van parked in Plantation, Fla., on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, that federal agents and police officers have been examining in connection with package bombs that were sent to high-profile critics of President Donald Trump. The van has several stickers on …
WPLG-TV Screenshot via AP

Federal authorities on Friday arrested Cesar Altieri Sayoc in Plantation, Florida in connection to a series of apparent mail bombs sent to prominent Democrats and progressive activists.

Follow updates from Breitbart News on the latest developments. All times eastern.

Livewire highlights:

► FBI arrested 56-year-old Cesar Altier Sayoc in Plantation, Florida on Friday morning in connection with a string of apparent explosive devices sent to leading Democrats, progressive activists, and others. 

► The suspect worked as a male stripper in the 1990s and had abused steroids as an avid gym goer. 

► Has long arrest record and is described by those close to him as a loner with a fiery temper.  

► IndyMac foreclosed on Sayoc’s home in 2009 and he filed for bankruptcy in 2012. 

► Appears to support President Donald Trump.

► Sayoc has been charged with interstate transport of explosives, illegal mailing of explosives, threats against former presidents and other persons, threatening interstate comms, and assaulting current and former federal officers. He faces up to 58 years in prison.

► President Trump praised authorities for Sayoc’s quick arrest and said the suspect should face “swift and certain justice” to the “fullest extent of the law.”

6:57 PM 

5:49 PM — Court records in Florida show that Sayoc was arrested in 2002 and served a year of probation for a felony charge of threatening to throw or place a bomb, the Associated Press reports. Court records available online did not immediately provide further details about the case, but his lawyer in the case says the case involved a heated conversation with a Florida utility representative.

Ronald Lowy, a Miami attorney, said Sayoc became frustrated about a lack of service and told a Florida Power and Light employee “something to the effect that you’re not taking care of my problem and I bet you would if I threw a bomb at you.” Lowy said Sayoc showed no ability at the time to back up his threat with any bomb-making expertise.

The lawyer went on to describe Sayoc as “a confused man who had trouble controlling his emotions.”

Florida records show Sayoc was also convicted in 2014 for grand theft and misdemeanor theft of less than $300, and in 2013 for battery. In 2004, he faced several felony charges for unlawful possession of a synthetic anabolic steroid often used to help build muscles. He also had several arrests for theft in the 1990s and faced a felony charge for obtaining fraudulent refunds and a misdemeanor count of tampering with physical evidence.

Lowy said he recalled that Sayoc also had a run-in with authorities over possession of steroids and another case in Broward County where he was charged with possessing a fake driver’s license after altering his birthdate to make him appear younger.

“His mind doesn’t seem to operate like most peoples’,” Lowy said. “It shows in his anger, his emotion and his behavior.”

Lowy said Sayoc displayed no political leanings at the time except for plastering a vehicle he owned with Native American signs.

More recently, Sayoc described himself on social media as being affiliated with the Seminole Warriors boxing club.

However, his cousin said Sayoc’s mother was Italian and his biological father was Filipino, and his parents separated when he was a young boy. Altieri said the only connection to Native Americans was that Sayoc a decade and a half ago had dated a woman in Minnesota who was a member of a tribe.

“That might be the only connection I can think of,” Altieri said.

Gary Bitner, a spokesman for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, said there is no evidence to show that Sayoc worked for the tribe or was a tribal member.

After his parents separated, Sayoc was “kind of rejected” by his family, Altieri said.

“When you get no love as a young kid, you get kind of out of whack,” he said.

Sayoc’s name is listed on business records tied to dry cleaning and catering businesses. Records also suggest he also had recent financial problems, including losing his home in foreclosure in 2009 and filling for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 2012.

In court records filed as part of the bankruptcy case, Sayoc was described as having $4,175 in personal property and more than $21,000 in debts. His monthly income at the time was $1,070.

“Debtor lives with mother, owns no furniture,” Sayoc’s lawyer indicated in a property list. He owned a 2001 Chevy Tahoe with 285,000 miles on the odometer. Most of his debt was from unpaid credit cards opened up in South Florida and banks across the U.S.

Court files show Sayoc completed a financial management course and was discharged from his debts in September 2012. Sayoc’s mother, Madeline, also filed for bankruptcy at the same time and was discharged in January 2017. She was not immediately available to respond to phone messages left with her by the AP.

Sayoc’s bankruptcy attorney, Christian Olson, declined to comment.

Christie Cauble, interim director of communications at Brevard College in North Carolina, said Sayoc enrolled at the school in 1980 and attended through three semesters. At the time, Brevard was a two-year school, and Cauble said Sayoc didn’t graduate.

He then transferred to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, enrolling for the 1983-84 academic year. Buffie Stephens, director of media relations for the school, said Sayoc didn’t declare a major. He played a few games as a walk-on player for the university’s men’s soccer team.

5:29 PM — First look of mail bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc being escorted into an FBI office in handcuffs.

4:54 PM President Trump criticizes reporters during a gaggle on the White House lawn, jabs them over unfair coverage of Republicans.

4:29 PMReports state Sayoc was booted from his parents’ home and was residing in his white van when taken into federal custody. According to the Miami Herald, the suspect built the explosives in the vehicle.

4:28 PMOn the same day Cesar Altieri Sayoc was arrested in connection with a string of mail bombs sent to leading Democrats and others, Vanessa Trump, the ex-wife of Donald Trump Jr., broke her silence about being hospitalized after opening a letter with powder at her New York City apartment. Officials later determined the substance was cornstarch and not hazardous. “Back in February I opened an envelope intended for my husband Don which covered my face, hands and clothing in white powder and left me terrified,” she writes. “I was rushed to the hospital, evaluated & put on Cipro for the longest two weeks of my life.”

4:19 PMHarris responds to being mailed a possible explosive device.

4:07 PMPer court records, Sayoc filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2012 while living with his mother in Aventura.

4:00 PMAccording to the suspect’s cousin, Sayoc was a gym rat who took steroids. “He’s been in the strip clubs since he was 22, that was his life,” Sayoc cousin tells the New York Post. “He was a male dancer and he wanted to be a wrestler. He was taking steroids. He was all buffed up…. He was built like a rock.” The relative also described Sayoc as a “lost soul” and “loose cannon.”

3:50 PM — Sayoc lost his home in 2009 when IndyMac moved to foreclose on his south Florida home, according to Florida property and court records, per the Associated Press. IndyMac was renamed OneWest Bank.

Further, there are signs that Sayoc may have been a victim of a controversial industry practice during the recession.

The lawyer who signed Sayoc’s foreclosure paperwork was Erica Johnson-Seck, a lawyer for OneWest. Johnson-Seck was an official at the center of OneWest’s so-called “robo-signing” scandal. Robo-signing is where banks signed off on thousands of legal documents automatically without checking their accuracy, causing thousands of people to lose their homes without proper procedures.

Johnson-Seck, in a court deposition in 2009, testified she would sign more than 750 legal documents for One West a week.

3:45 PM — A man who operates a property management office near the Florida auto parts store where the mail bomb suspect parked his van says the suspect didn’t resist when armed police officers swarmed and arrested him, the Associated Press reports.

Thomas Fiori is a former federal law enforcement officer. He says he saw an undercover police officer in a nearby SUV looking at the AutoZone store with binoculars Friday.

Fiori says within minutes he heard a small explosion, probably a device police use to distract people. He says 50 officers swarmed the suspect’s van with their firearms drawn.

Fiori says the arrested man did not resist and “had that look of, ‘I’m done, I surrender.’”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he doesn’t know why pipe bombs were sent to prominent Democrats but the arrested man “appears to be a partisan.”

3:20 PM

3:14 PMAsked if the suspect acted alone, Wray says: “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.”

3:13 PM — Asked why the suspect only sent explosive devices to Democrats, Sessions replies: “I don’t know, other than what you might normally expect. He appears to be been partisan, that would be determined by the facts as the case goes forward, I’m not able to comment on that.”

3:04 PM — Wray adds: “Today’s arrest does not mean we are out of the woods. There may be other packages in transit now & 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.”

3:01 PM — Wray reveals how authorities linked the suspect to the mail bomb campaign: 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.”

2:59 PM — FBI Director Christopher Wray says “13 IEDs were sent to various individuals across the country. Each device consisted of roughly 6 inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, a battery, some wiring and what is known as energetic material…These are not hoax devices.”

2:54 PM — Attorney General Jeff Sessions says Sayoc has been charged with interstate transport of explosives, illegal mailing of explosives, threats against former presidents and other persons, threatening interstate comms, and assaulting current and former federal officers. “For these charges, the defendant faces up to 58 years in prison. These charges may change or expand as the investigation proceeds,” says Sessions.

2:51 PM —

2:09 PM — Law enforcement in Burlingame, California, are investigating a suspicious package addressed to billionaire Democrat mega-donor Tom Steyer, NBC reports.

2:09 PM —

1:59 PM — President Trump once again lauds authorities for quickly arresting the mail bomb suspect.

1:55 PM — A suspicious package addressed to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) was intercepted at a Sacramento postal facility, according to NBC. It is unknown whether the package is linked to Cesar Sayoc.

1:49 PM — An event promoter named Tony Valentine tells the Washington Examiner that he hired Cesar Sayoc to perform in Ohio as a stripper in the 1990s. “He really couldn’t find his niche in life, and I guess he found it now,” the promoter said of Sayoc. According to Valentine, Sayoc was “a big muscle head” whose dream it was to wrestle professionally. Further, Valentine says he has no recollection of the mail bomb suspect espousing political views. “He would show up and do an individual act and leave,” said the promoter. “He was dancing for a guy out in Oklahoma too.”

“Back in the ’90s, he was running around from Minnesota to the Carolinas to Florida,” he added. “[Sayoc] was like a gypsy.”
1:30 PM —

1:03 PM — More information comes to light about suspect Cesar Altieri Sayoc’s past legal troubles.

1:00 PM — ABC News reports federal authorities tracked the suspect Cesar Altieri Sayoc using a mobile phone. Officials are now in possession of the suspect’s mobile phone and laptop computer.

12:34 PM — President Trump hailed the mail bomb suspect’s quick arrest and said he will face “swift and certain justice” to the “fullest extent of the law.” He adds: “We must not let political violence take root in America.”

12:32 PM — Speaking before the Young Black Leadership Summit at the White House, President Trump says of the suspected mail bomber’s arrest: “These terrorist acts are despicable and have no place in our country.”

12:12 PM — Officials say DNA evidence played a key role in Sayoc’s arrest.

11:57 AM — Close up photos of the suspect Cesar Altieri Sayoc’s van taken in April.

11:51 AM — The suspect has been identified as 56-year-old Cesar Altieri Sayoc of Florida.

11:41 AM — President Donald Trump says he will address the mail bomb campaign investigation shortly.

11:33 AM — FBI agents have taken possession of a white van believed to belong to the suspect.

11:15 AM — Fox News’ Rick Leventhal reports the suspect is a 56-year-old white male and has prior arrests for terroristic threats. Further, reports say the man has ties to New York City.

11:09 AM — NBC reports the suspect will face charges in connection to the attempted attacks.

10:58 AM — DOJ spokeswoman confirms initial reports but will not clarify whether there was an arrest.

10:58 AM — 

 

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