Bombing suspect targeted more people in Los Angeles, sources say
The Florida man accused of sending bombs to top Democrats, Trump administration critics and the media across the United States kept lists and other information that suggest he had more than 100 potential targets for his campaign of terror, including at least 15 in the Los Angeles region.
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies have begun reaching out to potential Southern California targets of Cesar Altieri Sayoc Jr., 56, who is accused of mailing 14 explosive devices to formerPresident Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, senators, actor Robert De Niro and CNN.
Law enforcement sources declined to identify anyone on the list. It’s possible other packages containing pipe bombs were sent to Los Angeles but officials don’t believe there could be many, said a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
So far only one package linked to Sayoc has been found in Los Angeles. It was addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters (D- Los Angeles) and was intercepted by authorities at Los Angeles’ central postal facility last week. Packages also were sent to Sen. Kamala Harris in Sacramento and anti-Trump activist Tom Steyer in Burlingame.
The outreach effort is based on new evidence seized from Sayoc’s van, which was plastered with pro-Trump posters and stickers vilifying CNN and many leading Democrats. The revelation about more potential targets came as the FBI responded to reports of another suspicious package found in Atlanta addressed to CNN. The FBI has warned that other devices may still be in the mail system.
An FBI SWAT team arrested Sayoc on Friday in Plantation, Fla., about 30 miles north of Miami, after the FBI said one of his fingerprints was found on a package containing a bomb sent to Waters.
Sayoc has been charged with five federal crimes, including interstate transportation of an explosive and threatening a former president. He faces up to 48 years in prison.
Sayoc appeared in Miami federal court Monday alongside other inmates in a tan, jail-issued outfit. He said his name and nodded several times to U.S. Magistrate Edwin G. Torres, acknowledging his rights. Another hearing was set for Friday, as the magistrate relayed to the U.S. Marshals Service that Sayoc’s lawyers should be able to meet with him in a room with a table.
Investigators were able to link DNA samples taken from the explosive devices sent to Obama and Waters to a sample taken from Sayoc in connection with an earlier arrest in Florida. A petty criminal, he has a history that includes threatening to blow up a Florida utility over his power bill.
Daniel Aaronson, Sayoc’s attorney, said Monday outside federal court that, at this stage, he knows little about the information authorities have against his client. Aaronson noted the fingerprint is a preliminary finding and that, as far as he knows, the DNA has not been verified. “He is innocent until proven guilty,” Aaronson said.
The devices have so far failed to detonate, leading some to believe they may not have been intended to inflict harm. But the FBI officials, in announcing the arrest, said the devices were not a hoax and, under certain circumstances, were capable of exploding.
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