Tuesday 25 June 2019

Trump fanatic arrested over bombs sent to political critics

Bomb scare: Police on the scene where a suspicious package was found in New York yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
Bomb scare: Police on the scene where a suspicious package was found in New York yesterday. Photo: Getty Images

Rozina Sabur

A fervent Donald Trump supporter was identified last night as the suspect in a nationwide mail-bomb scare targeting prominent critics of the American president.

Cesar Sayoc (56), a former body builder with a string of criminal convictions, was arrested yesterday as the number of explosive devices uncovered widened to 13.

Mr Trump vowed "swift and certain justice" as he condemned the attempted "terrorising attacks" and praised the "incredible" work of the country's law enforcement agencies.

Mr Sayoc, of Aventura, Florida, was arrested at an auto parts store in the nearby city of Plantation, around 50km north of Miami, and charged with five crimes, including the illegal mailing of explosives.

Christopher Wray, the FBI director, said Mr Sayoc's fingerprint was found on one of the devices addressed to Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

Mr Sayoc is a registered Republican who has been linked to social media accounts containing messages supporting Mr Trump and promoting conspiracy theories about George Soros, the billionaire political donor who was first to be targeted with a parcel bomb this week.

Mr Sayoc's white van, which was seized by the authorities, was plastered in images of Mr Trump, along with a "CNN Sucks" sign and a photo of Hillary Clinton with a bullseye superimposed on her face.

Mr Sayoc, who was born in New York, once served a stint on probation for making a bomb threat, court records show.

Last night Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, said a conviction over the attempted attacks could result in up to 58 years in prison.

Detectives were still uncovering new potentially explosive devices last night as it emerged that two packages addressed to a Democrat senator and a prominent donor were found in California.

The nationwide manhunt began earlier this week after a series of explosive devices addressed to leading Democrats including former president Barack Obama, former vice president Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton were discovered. The cable news network CNN and prominent critics of Mr Trump, including the actor Robert De Niro, were also targeted.

Speaking from the White House yesterday Mr Trump said: "These terrorising acts are despicable and have no place in our country.

"We must never allow political violence to take root in America." He called for Americans to "unify", saying: "We are united together in love and peace as fellow citizens".

However, he went on to hit out at the level of negative coverage he receives in the media. As he spoke, chants of "CNN sucks" and "fake news" could be heard from the audience, who were attending a young black leadership event.

The bombs seized on Wednesday were about 15cm long and each contained a small battery and was packed with powder and broken glass.

Yesterday, a device addressed to Democrat senator Cory Booker, a potential future presidential candidate, was found at a mail depot in southern Florida, where many of the packages are reported to have originated.

Shortly afterwards, a device bearing the name of James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence, and addressed to CNN's newsroom was found at a Manhattan postal centre. Mr Clapper occasionally contributes to the cable news network.

Officials said all the packages were similar in appearance, delivered in manila envelopes with printed addresses and several stamps.

Last night, authorities were investigating two more suspicious packages in California - one addressed to Democrat senator Kamala Harris and another addressed to the billionaire Tom Steyer, who has called for Mr Trump's impeachment. Mr Clapper yesterday called the attacks "domestic terrorism" . (© Daily Telegraph London)

Irish Independent

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