Investigators used DNA, fingerprint evidence in arrest of mail bombing suspect

U.S. & World

The head of the FBI says the suspect arrested in the mail bombs sent to prominent Democrats was found in part using fingerprint evidence and possible DNA.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Friday investigators had fingerprints of Florida resident Cesar Sayoc and had possible DNA collected from two explosive devices. Wray says they matched a fingerprint found on one of the packages that had been sent to U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California.

Sayoc, 56, was arrested Friday at an auto shop in Plantation, Florida. He has been charged with five federal crimes including the mailing of explosives and threatening former U.S. presidents. He faces 58 years in prison. He will be prosecuted in New York, where five of the 12 devices were found.

The mail bombs have been sent in recent days to political opponents of President Donald Trump.

Wray said more than a dozen pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats and CNN were “not hoax devices.”

Wray said each of the pipe bombs contained materials that could react and cause a potential explosion.

None of the devices exploded, and no one has been injured.

Wray made the comments Friday as federal authorities announced charges against Sayoc.

Wray said federal authorities have located 13 improvised explosive devices that were assembled in a similar manner.

Sayoc is accused of sending more than a dozen pipe bombs through the mail to prominent Democrats including former President Barack Obama and to CNN.

Sayoc is an amateur bodybuilder and ardent supporter of President Donald Trump who pushed far-right conspiracy theories online.

A man who operates a property management office near the Florida auto parts store where Sayoc parked his van says the suspect didn’t resist when armed police officers swarmed and arrested him.

Thomas Fiori is a former federal law enforcement officer. He says he saw an undercover police officer in a nearby SUV looking at the AutoZone store with binoculars Friday.

Fiori says within minutes he heard a small explosion, probably a device police use to distract people. He says 50 officers swarmed the suspect’s van with their firearms drawn.

Fiori says the arrested man did not resist and “had that look of, ‘I’m done, I surrender.'”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he doesn’t know why pipe bombs were sent to prominent Democrats and CNN but says a Florida man charged in the case “appears to be partisan.”

Sessions and other law enforcement officials are declining to speculate on whether the current divided political climate in America and President Donald Trump’s rhetoric emboldened the man. FBI Director Christopher Wray says it’s too early to discuss a motive behind the pipe bombs.

Sayoc is a registered Republican and ardent Trump supporter who pushed far-right conspiracy theories online.

Some of Sayoc’s social media posts singled out the targets of the bombs.

Trump has called for unity but also has blamed the press for the divisive political climate.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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