FBI: Florida man arrested in case of bombs mailed to politicians

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions made an official announcement Friday regarding the arrest of a suspect in a mail bomb case that has gripped the world of politics this week.

AG Sessions confirmed Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida was arrested in South Florida and is being questioned by the FBI. FBI director Christopher Wray said Sayoc was identified through a fingerprint found on one of the devices.

The suspect has been charged with five crimes, including illegal mailing of explosives. Sessions said additional charges may come later.

President Donald Trump discussed the investigation into the bomb packages at the Young Black Leadership Summit, at the White House, where he was already scheduled to speak. The president said, "we must never allow political violence to take root in America."

The arrest of a Florida man fell in line with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's comments Thursday, in an interview with Fox News Channel, acknowledging that some of packages originated in Florida. 

Videos and photos of the suspect's van, which was confiscated and taken to the FBI headquarters in Miami, show stickers of President Trump, Vice President Pence and the American flag, along with stickers that say 'CNN sucks.'

The suspect, who has a long criminal history dating back to the 90s which included domestic violence and drug charges, also lived in Charlotte, North Carolina in and was arrested in 1999 for possessing a stolen vehicle in Mecklenburg County.  

News of the arrest comes as the number of packages intercepted across the country grew to 14.

Friday, packages addressed to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, and billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer were discovered at various locations.

Friday's packages were similar in appearance to pipe bomb devices sent to other prominent Democrats including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Rep. Maxine Waters of California.

The FBI said the package to Booker was intercepted in Florida. A package discovered at a Manhattan postal facility was addressed to Clapper c/o CNN.

An earlier package had been sent to former Obama CIA Director John Brennan in care of CNN in New York.

RELATED: Device sent to CNN was pipe bomb, addressed to Brennan

The common thread among them was obvious: Their critical words for Trump and his frequent, harsher criticism in return.

Trump claimed on Friday he was being blamed for the mail bombs addressed to his critics, complaining in a tweet sent before dawn: "Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will, even blaming me for the current spate of Bombs and ridiculously comparing this to September 11 and the Oklahoma City bombing, yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, 'it's just not Presidential!'"

Meanwhile, investigators were analyzing the innards of the crude devices to reveal whether they were intended to detonate or simply sow fear just before Election Day.

PHOTO: Suspicious packages addressed for Biden’s Delaware home

Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that the devices, containing timers and batteries, were not rigged like booby-trapped package bombs that would explode upon opening. But they were uncertain whether the devices were poorly designed or never intended to cause physical harm.

The explosive devices were packed in envelopes with bubble-wrap interiors bearing six American flag stamps and the return address of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

The bombs seized Wednesday were about 6 inches (15 centimeters) long and packed with powder and broken glass, according to a law enforcement official who viewed X-ray images. The official said the devices were made from PVC pipe and covered with black tape. At the New York briefing, authorities confirmed that at least some of the packages were distributed through the U.S. mail, and cautioned that there could be additional devices in the postal system.

They said investigators searching for more suspicious parcels had not found any during the previous eight hours.

RELATED: More suspicious packages found, these to Booker, Clapper

The first crude bomb to be discovered was delivered Monday to the suburban New York compound of George Soros, a liberal billionaire and major contributor to Democratic causes. Soros has called Trump's presidency "dangerous."

Similar packages addressed to Clinton and Obama were intercepted on their way to Clinton's New York home, where she lives with former President Bill Clinton, and to Washington, where Obama lives with his wife, Michelle Obama. The Secret Service said neither package reached its intended recipient.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.