Cesar Altieri Sayoc, 56, was charged today in a 30-count indictment including use of weapons of mass destruction, interstate mailing of explosives, and use of destructive devices during crimes of violence relating to his alleged execution of a domestic terrorist attack in October 2018, which involved the mailing of 16 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to 13 victims throughout the country. He faces up to life in prison on the charges.
“Cesar Sayoc allegedly targeted former high-ranking officials such as President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and others, as well as CNN, by sending explosive packages to them through the U.S. Postal Service,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. “Sayoc’s alleged conduct put numerous lives at risk. It was also an assault on a nation that values the rule of law, a free press, and tolerance of differences without rancor or resort to violence.”
“Thanks to the diligent and determined work of our law enforcement partners here and across the country, it took just five days to identify and apprehend Sayoc and end his reign of terror,” Berman added. “He now faces justice from a nation of laws.”
According to the indictment, complaint, other court filings, and statements made during court proceedings, between Oct. 22 and Nov. 2 the FBI and the U.S. Postal Service recovered 16 padded manila envelopes containing IEDs allegedly mailed by Sayoc from Florida to addresses in New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Atlanta and California. Sayoc’s alleged victims were former Vice President Joseph Biden, Senator Cory Booker, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, CNN, Robert De Niro, Senator Kamala Harris, former Attorney General Eric Holder, former President Barack Obama, George Soros, Thomas Steyer, and Representative Maxine Walters.
Each of the 16 envelopes allegedly mailed by Sayoc had similar features, including the return addressee “Debbie Wasserman Shultz” at an address in “Florids,” six self-adhesive postage stamps bearing the American flag, and address labels printed on white paper with blank ink in similar typeface and font size. Each of the 16 envelopes also contained an IED. The 16 IEDs also had similar features, including approximately six inches of PVC pipe packed with explosive material, a small clock, and wiring. Some of the IEDs also contained shards of glass.
Preliminary analysis by the FBI has revealed forensic evidence linking 11 of the 16 mailings to Sayoc. Specifically, latent fingerprints on two of the envelopes have been identified to Sayoc, and there are possible DNA associations between a DNA sample collected from Sayoc prior to his arrest in this case and DNA found on components from 10 of the IEDs (including one of the IEDs that was mailed in an envelope from which a latent fingerprint identified to Sayoc was recovered).
The FBI arrested Sayoc in Plantation, Florida, on Oct. 26 – less than five days after the Oct. 22 recovery of the first IED, which Sayoc allegedly mailed to Soros in New York. The FBI seized a laptop from Sayoc’s van in connection with the arrest that contained lists of physical addresses that match many of the labels on the envelopes that Sayoc allegedly mailed. The lists were saved at a file path on the laptop that includes a variant of Sayoc’s first name: “Users/Ceasar/Documents.” A document from that path, titled “Debbie W.docx” and bearing a creation date of July 26, contained repeated copies of an address for “Debbie W. Schultz” in Sunrise, Florida, that is nearly identical, except for typographical errors, to the return address that Sayoc allegedly used on the packages. Similar documents bearing file titles that include the name “Debbie,” and creation dates of Sept. 22, contain exact matches of the return address allegedly used by Sayoc on the 16 envelopes.