Eli Ridder | @eliridder
(71 Republic) – Federal authorities brought a male suspect into custody in connection with 12 mail bombs sent to Democratic Party politicians and well-known critics of U.S. President Donald Trump over the last week, authorities in the United States said on Friday.
The suspect, named as 56-year-old Cezar Sayoc, was taken into custody in the Miami area, a law enforcement official said, the first suspect arrested during a probe into suspicious packages sent to a dozen addresses, including the Clinton residence, CNN and others.
No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the wave of parcel bombs that authorities have treated as domestic terrorism, that come just days ahead of the U.S. midterm elections that could change the balance of power in the capital.
Authorities released images of the parcel bomb packages earlier this week. The packaging is yellow with bubble wrap on the interior, a typical package for mail, but the six U.S. flags and the misspelled “Florids” on each package has been identical.
Mr. Trump addressed the country during the 2018 Young Black Leadership Summit at the White House shortly after noon, praising the enforcement agencies for arresting the sole suspect.
The U.S. Justice Department plans to hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
Trump critic George Soros was the first sent mail in the wave of suspicious packages that authorities have confirmed are linked. The billionaire was sent a package on Oct. 22, the Monday that started a week of mail bombs sent to critics of the president.
The following timeline uses information published by the Washington Post.
- George Soros, sent one device — An employee of billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros found a suspicious package in a mailbox at Soros’s home in New York.
- Bill and Hillary Clinton, sent one device — Secret Service personnel intercepted a pipe bomb addressed to the residence of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton in New York’s Chappaqua. The “potential explosive device” did not pose a threat to the Clintons, the agency said.
- Barack Obama, one device — Secret Service personnel intercepted a bomb addressed to the residence of former president Barack Obama in Northwest Washington. It was similar to the package addressed to the Clintons, and like that other device, there was no accompanying message, officials said.
- CNN and John Brennan, one device — A pipe bomb was found in the CNN mailroom at the Time Warner Center in New York on Wednesday morning, triggering an hours-long evacuation. The package was addressed to former CIA director John Brennan, who works as an analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, not CNN. Law enforcement officials said the device appeared to be similar to the other recovered devices.
- Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Eric Holder, one device — A suspicious package was sent to the Florida office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). It was addressed to former attorney general Eric H. Holder, who worked for the Obama administration, but had the wrong address and was delivered to the congresswoman’s office because she was listed as the sender on the package’s return address.
- Maxine Waters, two devices — Two packages addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) were recovered by authorities, the FBI said Wednesday night — one in Los Angeles and another in Washington. They were “similar in appearance” to the other devices, the agency said.
- Robert De Niro, one device — Around 5 a.m., security personnel working for De Niro’s film company, Tribeca Productions, discovered a suspicious package that police said “was similar to explosive packages that has been publicized.” The package was transported to Rodman’s Neck, a peninsula in the Bronx where the New York Police Department explodes bombs, the department said.
- Joe Biden, two devices — Investigators at two mail facilities in Delaware found packages addressed to the former vice president. One used his full name, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. Both were similar to others that had been sent this week.
- Cory Booker, one device — The FBI said it found a potential explosive device in Florida, addressed to Sen. Booker, a New Jersey Democrat. The package was similar to others sent to public figures.
- James Clapper, one device — Moments after the FBI announced that it had intercepted a suspicious package addressed to Booker, police in New York intercepted a similar package addressed to Clapper, President Obama’s former director of national intelligence. A law enforcement official said the package was addressed to Clapper at CNN, where he is a contributor, and was found at a mail sorting facility in New York.
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