Trump-supporting, bodybuilding, Native American Florida strip-club worker is revealed as the 'MAGAbomber' who 'sent suspicious packages to 14 liberals'Daily Mail
October 26, 2018
The suspect in a mail bombing spree targeting critics of President Donald Trump has been identified.
Cesar Altier Sayoc, 56, was taken into custody on Friday morning in Plantation, Florida in connection with the 14 suspicious packages that have been discovered this week.
FBI investigators tied Sayoc to the bomb spree through a fingerprint on the package addressed to US Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, as well as DNA samples on two other packages.
The packages contained pipe bombs, none of which detonated. Law enforcement sources believe they were where either ineptly constructed or not intended to detonate.
FBI Director Chris Wray emphasized in a press conference that they were 'not hoax devices' and contained actual explosive material, however.
According to Sayoc's Facebook page, he is a Trump fan who posted pictures and videos of himself at one of the President's rallies in October 2016.
He posted a photograph of himself wearing a MAGA hat in front of the US Capitol in 2017.
Sayoc was convicted of a threat to 'throw, place, project or discharge any destructive device' in 2002 in Dade County, Florida, court records show.
He has other prior convictions on felony charges including grand theft and drug possession with intent to distribute, but has never served prison time.
A lawyer who previously represented Sayoc said he was obsessed with looking young and asked about having his age changed in court documents.
Sayoc claims to be Native American, and according to a picture posted on his social media page, he is a member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Other information from his LinkedIn page suggests that Sayoc is Filipino.
The profile includes dubious claims that could not be immediately independently confirmed, including that Sayoc is a promoter for male striptease troupe Chippendales, and that he is enrolled in a veterinary medicine program.
'Career decision of becoming a Horse Doctor was always a love for animals, which were here first and never do anything to anyone. And respect all living things,' Sayoc wrote on the profile in a grammatical style that appears typical for him. 'My family very sound Sayoc name in Medical field.'
A van impounded in Paradise, believed to be Sayoc's, was covered densely with stickers expressing pro-Trump sentiments and denigrating prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who were among those who had pipe bombs addressed to them this week.
Another sticker proclaimed 'CNN Sucks.' The cable network had two of the suspicious packages addressed to its headquarters in Manhattan.
Sayoc was sentenced in August 2002 for threatening to throw a bomb in a conversation with a Florida utility representative, according to Ronald Lowy, a Miami attorney who represented him.
Dade County court records showed Sayoc served a year's probation after a judge signed a discharge certificate in November 2002.
Lowy told The Associated Press that Sayoc 'made a verbal threat when he was frustrated at a lack of service' from the utility company. Lowy said Sayoc showed no ability at the time to back up his threat with bomb-making expertise.
The lawyer said Sayoc was a bodybuilder then, and displayed no political leanings except for plastering a vehicle he owned with Native American signs.
In a Facebook post a year ago, Sayoc shared a photograph of Governor Rick Scott and Donald Trump, writing: 'The greatest Governor in Country Fla Rick Scott and great friend of We Unconquered Seminole Tribe . Trump Trump Trump'
He shared bodybuilding pictures and appears to have worked in a strip club.
He expressed his dislike of Hillary Clinton and posted stories about incidents of Islamic terrorism.
Trump addressed the arrest in remarks at the White House, saying: 'We must never allow political violence to take root in America.' He promised 'swift and certain justice' and said the suspect would be prosecuted 'to the fullest extend of the law.'
A Twitter account that appears to belong to Sayoc includes repeated attacks on billionaire George Soros and praise for Trump and other Republicans.
The tweets accuse Soros of paying off a victim from the Parkland mass shooting and accusing Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, a Democrat, of being a Soros puppet.
The account includes anti-Gillum memes, with one including the caption '$500,000 SOROS PUPPET.' The Oct. 24 posting includes a photo of Soros doctored to look like he's holding a puppet meant to resemble Gillum.
Corporate records show Sayoc has owned companies called Native American Catering & Vending, as well as Proud Native America One Low Price Drycleaning.
Sayoc is charged with five federal crimes, including interstate transportation of an explosive, illegal mailing of explosives, threats against a former president, threatening interstate communications, and assaulting current and former federal officers.
Sayoc will face the charges in federal court in Manhattan after an initial court appearance in Florida. Five of the improvised devices involved in the case were recovered in the Southern District of New York.
He faces up to 58 years in prison if convicted.
The suspect was arrested in front of an AutoZone store in Plantation, a police source tells DailyMail.com.
Michelle Taylor, a nurse at the Senior Medical Associates clinic across the street from the AutoZone, saw police taking a vehicle believed to be Sayoc's into custody.
'We've been in the office for an hour and we're so nervous,' she said. 'The police were surrounding some kind of a van. Thank god we're done with our patients for the day and there's only two of us in here.'
A witness who works at Marlins Insurance said dozens of police cars descended on the area around State Road 7 and SW 8th Street about 10am, a few feet away from her office.
'It's really bad,' the woman said by telephone. She declined to give her name.
'We heard a loud bang, like a bomb exploding. Police officers who told us to stay inside said they were arrested the guy who's been sending bombs all over the place. It's pretty scary but we're inside trying to get some work done.'
The suspect is reportedly a former resident of New York who is living in Florida.
The 12 mail bombs are all believed to have been handled by a regional mail sorting facility in southern Florida.
Sayoc graduated 1980 from North Miami Beach Senior High, according to a yearbook entry.
His grandmother lived in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, according to a 2006 obituary.
Among Sayoc's most serious criminal history includes a 1994 incident in which his grandmother Viola accused him of domestic violence. She sought a restraining order at the time but a judge then dropped the charges two weeks later for reasons that are unclear.
The suspect is known to law enforcement, and has a history of making terroristic threats to judges, sources said.
Heavy police activity was seen in Plantation, Florida, a town to the west of Fort Lauderdale and directly south of Sunrise, the location of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz's office, which the bombs listed as a return address.
Police impounded a white panel van that is believed to be connected to the investigation.
Photos of the van show its windows plastered with stickers supporting Trump and denigrating prominent Democrats. One of the stickers reads 'CNN sucks'.
Another sticker reads 'Dishonest media CNN sucks,'
The Department of Justice announced a press conference for 2.30 pm at which further details are expected to be available.
The package to Booker was found on Thursday night at a mail sorting facility in Florida, and the package addressed to Clapper was found at a postal facility in Manhattan on Friday.
The two new packages marked the 11th and 12th suspected mail bombs in a spree that has targeted critics of Trump.
Trump's first public response to the latest suspicious packages was a tweet at 10.19am reading: 'Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this 'Bomb' stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows - news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!'
The package to Clapper was addressed to CNN's headquarters in the Time Warner Center in Midtown Manhattan, but was intercepted before delivery.
A photo of the package showed that it matched notable characteristics of the previous mail bombs, none of which have exploded.
Clapper joined CNN as a contributor after stepping down as the nation's most senior intelligence official last year.
'At least they got the correct spelling of my name and they got the right network,' Clapper said in remarks to CNN, referring to a mail bomb sent to CNN earlier this week and addressed to 'John Brenan'.
John Brennan, a former CIA director, is a contributor for MSNBC.
'This is definitely domestic terrorism, no question about it in my mind,' Clapper said in an interview with the cable network. 'This is not going to silence the administrationīs critics.'
Clapper said that he had been on vacation with his wife, and had warned the neighbors who were collecting his mail to be on the lookout for suspicious packages as the mail bomb spree developed this week.
Like the other targets in the mail bomb spree, Clapper has been harshly critical of Trump. In a speech last year, he said that Trump was guilty of 'ignorance or disrespect'.
The package intercepted on Friday was addressed to Clapper care of CNN, but was spotted by postal inspectors at a sorting facility before delivery.
The NYPD bomb squad was on scene at the postal facility at West 52nd Street and 8th Avenue on Friday morning.
The NYPD's Total Containment Vessel was spotted at the scene by about 9.30am.
Streets in the area were closed off and postal workers were seen waiting on the sidewalks after the facility was evacuated.
The containment vehicle departed the area at 10am transporting the suspected bomb to a secure police facility in Rodman's Neck in the Bronx.
On Thursday, a local police bomb squad and canine units joined federal investigators to examine a sprawling U.S. mail distribution center at Opa-Locka, northwest of Miami, Miami-Dade County police said.
Investigators believe that all of the suspicious packages were sorted at the facility, which processes mail regionally in South Florida.
It was at the Opa-Locka facility that the 11th bomb was discovered, addressed to Senator Booker.
Booker is a Democrat from New Jersey. Like Clapper and the other targets of the mail bombs in the recent spree, he is an outspoken critic of Trump.
The identity and motives of the bomber have not been revealed, however, with the FBI saying it is pursuing the case as the agency's highest priority.
No one has claimed responsibility for the bombs.
Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC on Friday that the mail bombs were stoking fear across the county and that U.S. leaders, including Trump, must reassure the public.
Elected officials and others need to say that this is not who we are as a country, Warner said. 'That would be a heck of a lot stronger if that message also came from the White House.'
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that Florida appeared to be the starting point for at least some of the bomb shipments.
'Some of the packages went through the mail. They originated, some of them, from Florida,' she said during an interview with Fox News Channel on Thursday.
'I am confident that this person or people will be brought to justice.'