Suspect arrested after explosive devices sent to Trump critics and CNN

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Sophie Tatum, Eric Levenson, Brian Ries, Paul P. Murphy and Jessie Yeung, CNN

Updated 2:25 p.m. ET, November 5, 2018
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4:06 p.m. ET, October 26, 2018

Some of Sayoc’s Facebook posts had been reported and removed

From CNN's Donie O’Sullivan 

Facebook had previously removed multiple posts from Cesar Sayoc’s account for violating its community standards, a Facebook spokesperson told CNN on Friday.

The spokesperson said that some of the removals were the result of Facebook users reporting Sayoc’s posts for violations. Other posts were identified by Facebook through its detection systems.

Facebook would not specify how many posts were removed.

The violations were not severe enough to prompt the company to remove his account entirely, the spokesperson added.

However, Facebook did remove the account after Sayoc was named as a suspect, and says it is working with law enforcement.

Here's Facebook's statement:

"There is absolutely no place on our platforms for people who attempt such horrendous acts. We have found and immediately removed the suspect's accounts on Facebook and Instagram. We will also continue to remove content that praises or supports the bombing attempt or the suspect as soon as we're aware."
3:19 p.m. ET, October 26, 2018

Cesar Sayoc was living in his white van at the time of his arrest

From CNN's Evan Perez

Bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc had been kicked out by his parents, so he has living in the van that we have seen in pictures today, according to a law enforcement official.

The sticker-covered white van was taken to an FBI facility in Miramar, Florida.

The FBI agents used flash bangs in making the arrest and took him into custody near the AutoZone in Plantation, the official said. 

Sayoc was initially somewhat cooperative, the official said. He told investigators that the pipe bombs wouldn’t have hurt anyone and that he didn’t want to hurt anyone. 

Sayoc has now retained a lawyer so the questioning has ceased, the official said. 

3:18 p.m. ET, October 26, 2018

Jeff Sessions: "I don't know" why the suspect targeted Democrats

When asked why bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc was targeting Democrats, Attorney General Jeff Sessions replied, "I don't know. Other than what you might normally expect. He may have been -- he appears to be partisan but that will be determined by the facts as the case goes forward. I'm not able to comment on that."

Partisanship and political rhetoric came up in another question, to which FBI Director Christopher Wray responded, "We're focused not on the (political) talk but on the work... It's too early at this stage for us to be discussing motivation in this particular case."

When asked if "nasty political rhetoric" might inspire violence, Wray said, "We're concerned about people committing acts of violence under any motivation."

3:12 p.m. ET, October 26, 2018

There could be more packages out there, FBI head says

FBI Director Christopher Wray said there could still be more suspicious packages with possible explosive devices out there.

“Today’s arrest does not mean we are all out of the woods. There may be more packages in transit now," he said.

He urged anyone with information to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or

3:41 p.m. ET, October 26, 2018

NYPD commissioner: The public is safe but should stay vigilant

Speaking at the Department of Justice press conference, New York Police Department Commissioner James O'Neill praised the cooperation between the NYPD and the FBI as "a partnership that was forged in fire."

He thanked the public and the media for their help, but warned that people should remain vigilant as the investigation continues.

"Today's arrest means the people across our nation are safe. But there might be more packages out there and everyone still needs to take caution," O'Neill said.

3:11 p.m. ET, October 26, 2018

Cesar Sayoc's fingerprint was on one of the packages sent to Rep. Maxine Waters

Authorities used a fingerprint found on an envelope sent to Rep. Maxine Waters to identify suspect Cesar Sayoc, FBI Director Christopher Wray said at Friday's news conference.

"Based on their initial analysis, they uncovered a latent fingerprint from one of the envelopes containing an I.E.D. That had been sent to Congresswoman Maxine Waters. We have confirmed this fingerprint is that of Cesar Sayoc," he said.

Authorities are looking at a possible DNA connection between samples collected from two different devices and a sample collected during one of Sayoc's earlier arrests in Florida, Wray added.


3:04 p.m. ET, October 26, 2018

"These are not hoax devices": FBI director says 13 devices were sent

FBI Director Christopher Wray said 13 improvised explosive devices were sent to individuals around the county.

"Though we're still analyzing the devices in our laboratory, these are not hoax devices," he said.

The devices consisted of "roughly six inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, a battery, some wiring and what is known as energetic material, which is essentially potential explosives and material that give off heat and energy through a reaction to heat, shock or friction," Wray said

He described the investigation into the suspicious packages as "enormous" in scope and "of the greatest importance."

3:51 p.m. ET, October 26, 2018

These are the 5 federal charges the bomb suspect faces

Attorney General Jeff Sessions began an ongoing Department of Justice press conference by lauding investigators and law enforcement as "the best in the world."

Suspect Cesar Sayoc, who was arrested earlier Friday, faces five federal charges, Sessions said:

  • Interstate transportation of an explosive
  • Illegal mailing of explosives
  • Threats against former presidents and other persons
  • Threatening interstate communications
  • Assaulting current and former federal officers.

Sayoc faces up to 48 years in prison. 

“I want to reiterate the defendant in this case is innocent until proven guilty," Sessions added after describing the charges.

Watch more:

Note: This post has been updated. During the news conference, Sessions said Sayoc could face 58 years in prison. The DOJ later clarified it was 48 years.

2:50 p.m. ET, October 26, 2018

Sayoc's former attorney describes him as having “trouble conforming”

From CNN's Scott Glover

When mail bomb suspect Cesar Altieri Sayoc had his electricity turned off in 2002, he grew frustrated with his efforts to convince the power company to turn it back on, his longtime attorney recalled Friday.

“I bet if I threatened to blow up your office you’d turn it back on quickly,” Sayoc’s then-attorney, Ronald S. Lowy, quoted him as saying.

Lowy, who represented Sayoc in the case in Miami, Florida, told CNN his client never intended to make good on the threat. He said he was sentenced to a year’s probation “and allowed to continue with his life.” 

Lowy said he represented Sayoc in several subsequent matters, but nothing involving violence or threats of violence.

He described Sayoc, 56, as someone who had “trouble conforming” and “didn’t fit in.”

Lowy said he was not surprised that the devices he is suspected of assembling and mailing to past and current politicians and the Manhattan offices of CNN did not explode. He questioned his former client’s ability to successfully devise and execute such a scheme.

He described Sayoc as a man involved in petty offenses spread out over time.

In one case, Lowy said, Sayoc altered his driver’s license to make himself appear younger because he remained single and thought his age may be hurting him on the dating scene.

“He was embarrassed about his age,” the lawyer said.

Lowy said he recalled Sayoc frequenting the gym and working as a personal trainer at one point.

Lowy said he was in consultation with Sayoc’s family and discussing the possibility of representing him in connection with Friday’s arrest.