U.S. federal agents have arrested a man in Florida in connection with a series of mail bombs sent to critics of President Donald Trump, including Democratic Party politicians.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions identified the man as Cesar Sayoc of Florida. He said Sayoc was charged with five crimes, including mailing explosives and threatening a former U.S. president. Sessions made the announcement on Friday in Washington.
Christopher Wray, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said officials have recovered 13 of the mail bombs. He said the pipe bombs were “not hoax devices” and could cause explosions. Wray added that investigators had matched fingerprints and genetic material on the bombs to Sayoc.
Sayoc was arrested at an automobile parts store in the city of Plantation. He lives in Aventura, a town nearby. Court records show Sayoc has had past arrests for making a bomb threat, theft and other wrongdoing.
Officials were seen on television examining a white automobile at the site of the arrest. The vehicle’s windows displayed images of Trump, American flags and what appeared to be small signs of the Republican National Committee and CNN.
Pipe bombs found across the U.S.
The development came as officials found and safely removed at least 13 pipe bombs at sites across the country. Several mailings were addressed to Democratic Party politicians, including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Several of the packages were sent through a U.S. mail office in a town less than 10 miles from where Sayoc lived. The return address for the mailings was that of Democratic lawmaker Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
None of the devices exploded and no one was injured.
The first package was found Monday at the home of billionaire businessman George Soros, a long-time Democrat and Trump critic.
On Wednesday, the Secret Service announced that they stopped two bombs in the process of being sent to Hillary Clinton and former President Obama.
On the same day, officials removed a mail bomb in CNN television offices addressed to John Brennan, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Obama. He also is a fierce critic of President Trump.
Two other mail bombs were sent to Representative Maxine Waters, a California Democrat who has clashed with the president. One addressed to Eric Holder, who served as Attorney General under Obama, was sent return mail to the office of Wasserman Schultz. She is a former chair of the Democratic National Committee.
A day later, investigators found three more pipe bombs: one sent to actor Robert De Niro and two to former Vice President Biden. Both are major critics of Trump.
On Friday, officials said they discovered three more mail bombs addressed to Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Senator Kamala Harris of California, and former National Intelligence Director James Clapper.
The one to Clapper was addressed to him at CNN’s New York office. Clapper told CNN that he was not surprised he was targeted and that he considered the actions an act of terrorism.
Earlier on Friday, Trump complained on Twitter that he was being blamed for the mail bombs. He added, “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. Republicans, go out and vote!”
The U.S. holds elections November 6 that could bring a change of political party control to Congress.
I’m Caty Weaver.
Hai Do wrote this story for Learning English with additional reporting from the Associated Press. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
hoax - n. an act that is meant to trick or deceive people
match - v. to have the same appearance, color, etc.
address - v. to write on an envelope, package, letter, etc., the name and address of the person or business it is being sent to
polls - n. the places where people vote during an election
momentum - n. the strength or force that allows something to continue or to grow stronger or faster as time passes