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Who Is Man Allegedly Behind Mail-Bomb Scare?


This frame grab from video provided by WPLG-TV shows FBI agents escorting Cesar Sayoc, in sleeveless shirt, in Miramar, Flordia, on Oct. 26, 2018. Authorities alleged Sayoc was the man who sent pipe bombs to some of President Donald Trump's most prominent critics.

Cesar Sayoc, the man arrested in the nationwide mail-bomb scare targeting prominent political figures, has a long criminal history and is known on social media for posting inflammatory comments against leading Democrats.

Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida, faces five federal crimes, including illegally mailing explosives and making threats against former presidents. He faces up to 48 years in prison if found guilty, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.

In this undated photo released by the Broward County Sheriff's office, Cesar Sayoc is seen in a booking photo, in Miami.
In this undated photo released by the Broward County Sheriff's office, Cesar Sayoc is seen in a booking photo, in Miami.

Sayoc was previously known to law enforcement officials and has been arrested nearly a dozen times in Florida, including a 2002 arrest for making a bomb threat. His first arrest in the state was at age 29 for larceny. Other charges against him have included grand theft, fraud and illegal possession of steroids.

Social media profiles that apparently belonged to Sayoc contain posts attacking political foes of President Donald Trump. Florida voter records show he first registered to vote in 2016 as a Republican. Video posted on social media appears to show him at Trump rallies.

After FBI agents arrested Sayoc in Plantation, Florida, on Friday, they hauled away Sayoc's white van. Media reports show images of the van plastered with pro-Trump stickers, American flags, and images of Democratic figures with red crosshairs over their faces.

A friend and former co-worker of Sayoc's, Justin Humberger, told VOA that "every conversation you ever get into with Cesar, it comes around to politics." He described Sayoc's political leanings as "very pro-Trump," but said he did not see any violent tendencies coming from him.

Humberger said he previously worked with Sayoc in a male dancing business over two years ago. He said Sayoc served as a tour manager for himself and two other male dancers and said the group drove hundreds of miles to venues across the country and often slept in Sayoc's van.

This Nov. 1, 2017, photo shows a van with windows covered with an assortment of stickers in Well, Florida. Federal authorities took Cesar Sayoc into custody on Oct. 26, 2018, and confiscated his van, which appears to be the same one.
This Nov. 1, 2017, photo shows a van with windows covered with an assortment of stickers in Well, Florida. Federal authorities took Cesar Sayoc into custody on Oct. 26, 2018, and confiscated his van, which appears to be the same one.

Humberger said Sayoc could not fix his own van so said it was not surprising to him that if his former tour manager had made a bomb, it didn't go off.

"He was a kind of strong personality," Humberger said, but added that he never saw Sayoc be violent. He said in recent months Sayoc wanted to get out of the entertainment industry and wanted to be involved in an industry that wasn't associated with alcohol.

Records show Sayoc had a history of financial problems and filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012. Court records from the bankruptcy filing show Sayoc lived with his mother at the time and owned no furniture.

Sayoc is the only person arrested in connection with the mailings of at least a dozen suspicious packages sent to political and media figures, including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Authorities are still investigating whether other people were involved in case and have not ruled out the possibility of further arrests.

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