Federal agents arrested a South Florida man outside an auto parts store on Thursday as a prime suspect in a string of pipe-bomb mailings to prominent Democrats and other critics of President Donald Trump.
A trail of DNA evidence on the packages or the devices helped investigators narrow a nationwide manhunt to Cesar Sayoc, a 56-year-old man from Aventura, law enforcement sources told the Miami Herald. Sayoc was being questioned by FBI agents with the Joint Terrorism Task Force following his arrest.
Agents also seized and towed away his white van, which had most of its windows covered in pro-Donald Trump and right wing stickers. Photos of the van, posted by a Twitter user who said he saw the car at a stoplight in April, show rifle scope images over the faces of Hilary Clinton, left wing filmmaker Michael Moore and President Barack Obama. Another said “CNN Sucks,” along with an image of Trump standing on a tank in front of fireworks and an American flag.
Investigators draped the vehicle with a blue tarp and towed it away on a flat bed truck.
President Trump, in a speech given shortly after Sayoc’s arrest, praised the speed of the investigation.
“Congratulations to all law enforcement. We have the best in the world and they just showed it,” he said.
The arrest was made at an AutoZone in Plantation instead of his home to avoid any potential dangerous confrontation, sources told the Miami Herald. News partner CBS4 reports a “loud explosion” was heard at the time of the arrest, possibly from an FBI flash bomb device.
Sayoc was a frequent poster on social media sites and his Twitter and Facebook accounts were filled with pro-Trump memes and attacks on Democrats — including a string linking Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for Florida governor, with billionaire George Soros, a major party donor and recipient of one of the menacing mailings.
Court records show he has a handful of arrests, including on charges of making a bomb threat in 2002 in Miami-Dade. Other cases included grand theft and battery in Broward County.
Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.