The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) confirmed today that the individual behind the suspicious pipe bomb packages has been apprehended and charged.
“We have arrested Cesar Sayoc in connection with this investigation,” confirmed FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“He has been charged today with five federal crimes, including interstate transportation of an explosive, illegal mailing of explosives, threats against former presidents and certain other persons, threatening interstate communications, and assaulting current and former federal officers,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“For these charges, the defendant faces up to 48 years in prison,” Sessions added.
Sessions confirmed a massive joint investigation between local law enforcement, FBI, ATF, Secret Service, Capitol Police, NYPD, as well as inspectors with the U.S. Postal Service.
Wray said FBI investigations took place in New York, Maryland, Washington D.C., Florida, and California, involving the Joint Terrorism Task Force and Counterterrorism Division, as well as analysts at the Quantico FBI lab.
“We can confirm that 13 IEDs were sent to various individuals across the country,” Wray said. “Each device consisted of roughly of six inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, battery, and energetic material, potential explosives and material that give off heat and energy through a reaction to heat, shock, or friction.”
FBI Director Wray: 13 IEDs were sent to various individuals across the country. Each device consisted of roughly 6 inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, a battery, some wiring and what is known as energetic material…These are not hoax devices.” https://t.co/WxeFZeqKEn pic.twitter.com/KwcOyCPhr9
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 26, 2018
Many have speculated the pipe bombs were non-functioning devices or hoaxes, but Wray said that isn’t the case.
“Though we are still analyzing the devices in our laboratory, these are not hoax devices,” he noted.
Wray also confirmed that a fingerprint obtained on one of the packages, in addition to DNA evidence, linked Sayoc to the crimes.
Sayoc is believed to have acted alone in sending the packages, but warned that the danger is not yet over.
“Today’s arrest does not mean we are out of the woods. There may be other packages in transit now & other packages on the way. We need the help of every citizen, law enforcement, everyone we’ve got, to help with this investigation in the days to come,” he said.
Officials told CNN that Sayoc was cooperating and said he didn’t want anyone to get hurt, noting that the pipe bombs wouldn’t have caused harm.
CNN: Sayoc was initially somewhat cooperative. He told investigators that the pipe bombs wouldn’t have hurt anyone and that he didn’t want to hurt anyone.
Sayoc has now retained a lawyer so the questioning has ceased, the official said.
— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) October 26, 2018
Later on Friday, additional suspicious packages were undergoing investigation. One was addressed to Sen. Kamala Harris’ Sacramento, Calif. office, while the other was addressed to billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer in Burlingame, Calif.
“I want to reiterate, the defendant is innocent until proven guilty, but let this be a lesson to anyone. Regardless of their political beliefs. We will bring the full force of law against anyone who attempts to use threats, intimidation, and outright violence to further an agenda,” Sessions warned. “We will find you, we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”