WASHINGTON, D.C. – Federal authorities took a Florida man into custody Friday in connection with the mail-bomb scare that earlier widened to 14 suspicious packages sent to prominent Democrats from coast to coast. President Donald Trump promised the man would be prosecuted to the “fullest extent of the law.”
The man was identified by law enforcement officials as Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida. He was arrested at an auto parts store in the nearby city of Plantation. Court records show Sayoc has a history of arrests for theft, illegal possession of steroids and a 2002 charge of making a bomb threat.
Here’s a breakdown of every suspicious device sent in the mail this week:
How many packages have been sent so far?
Authorities have intercepted at least 14 packages.
They were sent to:
California Senator Kamala Harris: One package was intercepted at a sorting facility in Sacramento
Democratic Donor Tom Steyer: One package addressed to Steyer was intercepted in Burlingame, California.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker: One package was intercepted in Florida
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper: One package was sent to CNN New York, c/o James Clapper. It was intercepted at a sorting facility in Manhattan.
Billionaire investor George Soros: One package, sent to his home in New York.
Bill and Hillary Clinton: One package mailed to their home in New York but intercepted by the Secret Service.
Barack Obama: One package mailed to Washington, D.C., but intercepted by the Secret Service.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder: One package addressed to him but sent to the Florida office of Democratic lawmaker Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters: Two suspicious packages: one intercepted at a congressional mail-screening facility in Maryland and a second one found at a postal facility in Los Angeles.
John Brennan: A “live explosive device” was addressed to the former CIA director and delivered by courier to CNN’s offices at the Time Warner Center in New York.
Former Vice President Joe Biden: Two packages found at post offices in Delaware.
Actor Robert De Niro: A suspicious package sent to him at the Manhattan building where his production company is based shows similarities to the other pipe bomb packages.
Did the packages have any similarities?
The devices sent to Soros, Brennan and the top Democratic officials appeared to be pipe bombs, said Bryan Paarmann, FBI special agent in charge of the counterterrorism division in New York.
An initial examination shows they are rudimentary but functional, and have similar construction. At least one contained projectiles, including shards of glass, a law enforcement official told CNN.
The packages were in manila envelopes with bubble-wrap interior, the FBI said, and each package had six American flag Forever stamps on the envelope. The devices had suspicious-looking packaging, and at least one had a timer that can be bought for a few dollars online and should be easily detected when mailed or delivered.
Were the pipe bombs designed to go off?
In a news release, the FBI called them “potentially destructive devices.” The presence of what was believed to be pyrotechnic powder caused investigators to believe they could detonate, but it appeared the packages were handled and moved through the postal system without an explosion.
Based on X-ray image of one of the devices, there appeared to be hazardous materials present, Anthony May, a retired ATF explosives investigator, told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin.
But it also appeared to be missing a crucial component for a functioning explosive device.
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.
Where are the packages now?
The devices sent to Clinton, De Niro, Obama, the CNN offices and Waters’ East Coast office are either with the FBI or headed to the agency’s lab in Quantico, Virginia. A controlled detonation was conducted for the device sent to Soros, while the one mailed to Waters’ West Coast office was rendered safe by a bomb squad.
It’s unclear where the others are.
A suspicious white powder found in an envelope along with the device sent to Brennan and CNN was tested and found not to be anthrax or other known agents, a source said. Additional tests will be done in the coming days.