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Trump: I think I've been toned down

President Trump talks to reporters after the mail bomb suspect was arrested, saying he believes he has toned down his rhetoric since suspicious packages were sent to several top political figures, Trump critics and CNN.

Posted: Oct 28, 2018 10:37 AM
Updated: Oct 28, 2018 11:02 AM

DNA, fingerprints and pings from a cell phone tower led authorities to an auto parts store parking lot in south Florida where they arrested a 56-year-old man Friday morning. The arrest brought an end to a four-day nationwide manhunt for the alleged mailer of over a dozen suspected pipe bombs to prominent critics of President Donald Trump.

A key break in the case for investigators came Thursday, according to a criminal complaint and multiple law enforcement officials, when they traced five packages to the Opa-Locka processing and distribution center outside of Miami.

That break allowed authorities to narrow their search, which -- combined with DNA and fingerprint samples left on a package sent to Rep. Maxine Waters and cell phone geolocation information -- led to Cesar Sayoc, even as new devices were being found in New York and California.

FBI agents arrested Sayoc at an AutoZone parking lot in Plantation, Florida, about six miles west of Fort Lauderdale, Friday morning as he was nearing his white van, which has been covered with images political in nature, including images of notable liberals such as Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama.

A "CNN Sucks" sticker was also on the van. Two of the packages with explosive devices were addressed to the CNN New York bureau.

Other targets include former Vice President Joe Biden, and critics of Donald Trump including Waters, actor-director Robert De Niro, and Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. A suspicious package similar to the others this week was also found Friday in the San Francisco Bay area addressed to Democratic billionaire donor Tom Steyer.

Friday's arrest was the culmination of a multi-agency federal, state and local law enforcement and civilian effort that began Monday when the first suspected pipe bomb sent to George Soros, a billionaire philanthropist who has supported Democrats, was intercepted.

Three new suspected bombs were detected Friday morning in Florida, New York and California as agents in South Florida were preparing to apprehend Sayoc at the parking lot. The packages were nearly identical -- six inch PVC pipes with wires, stuffed inside a bubble-wrap lined manila envelope, according to the complaint. Six American flag stamps were affixed to each envelope with the return address of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's office.

"These are not hoax devices," FBI Director Christopher Wray said at a news conference Friday.

Sayoc was charged with five criminal counts related to 13 explosive devices, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday. He faces up to 48 years in prison if convicted.

The investigation, led by the FBI with the involvement of the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the NYPD, the US Postal Inspectors and other federal agencies and local law enforcement, depended heavily on the quick work of private security and US Postal Workers who detected bombs as they arrived at office buildings and post offices.

Authorities were also aided by mistakes made by the alleged bomber who left traces of evidence investigators scrambled to understand.

As explosive devices were sent to the FBI forensics lab in Quantico, investigators there detected DNA and a fingerprint found on the device intended for Waters and, working with local law enforcement, matched it late Thursday night to a sample of Sayoc's DNA that had been previously collected, Wray said.

Traces of DNA collected from two other of the bombs appeared related to Sayoc, according to the complaint filed in federal court Friday.

With his possible identity known, investigators checked his cell phone number against cell phone towers in the vicinity to see if they matched the location and timing for when the packages originated, according to a law enforcement official.

By Thursday night, agents and law enforcement officers, confident they had found the alleged bomber, were combing through social media posts of Sayoc and began surveilling him either Thursday night or Friday morning, the law enforcement official said.

Clues appeared to confirm their suspicions. Sayoc misspelled words on posts that matched some of those on the packages. Some posts said, "Hilary" instead of "Hillary" Clinton, while another said "Shultz" instead of Schultz for Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Investigators first went to the home of Sayoc's mother in Aventura, but were told he wasn't there, according to a law enforcement official. As of Friday afternoon, authorities were searching his mother's residential complex.

Meanwhile, they detected a ping identifying Sayoc's cell phone. In the AutoZone parking lot, agents found the white van, where he appeared to be living.

Sayoc was initially somewhat cooperative, one official said. He told investigators that the pipe bombs wouldn't have hurt anyone and that he didn't want to hurt anyone. But he has since retained a lawyer so questioning has ceased. He is scheduled to appear in federal court on Monday in Florida.

Although Sayoc is in custody, FBI director Wray cautioned that there could be more potential explosive devices sent that have yet to be detected.

"Today's arrest does not mean we are all out of the woods," Wray told reporters. "There may be more packages in transit now."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20784248
Hinds19894408
Harrison17493302
Rankin13316275
Jackson13099243
Madison9896210
Lee9859169
Jones8293160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7189237
Lowndes6265144
Lamar610784
Lafayette6028117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4770129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4420139
Warren4281118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403775
Neshoba3988176
Lincoln3871108
Hancock372185
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322781
Pike3181104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296876
Copiah293065
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284868
Prentiss275659
Marion265979
Wayne261341
Leake261173
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245982
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213373
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158634
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126323
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120141
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81923
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 519071

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754131487
Mobile37774798
Madison33868494
Tuscaloosa25283443
Montgomery23969565
Shelby23112238
Baldwin20638300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14286311
Morgan14140268
Etowah13664345
Marshall11957219
Houston10383278
Elmore9994200
Limestone9814147
Cullman9475188
St. Clair9429234
Lauderdale9218227
DeKalb8747181
Talladega8060171
Walker7092275
Jackson6755110
Autauga6727103
Blount6488135
Colbert6205130
Coffee5401112
Dale4768110
Russell428938
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia388074
Dallas3527149
Chambers3500122
Clarke346360
Marion3066100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256458
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224955
Hale218775
Butler212366
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171540
Washington164038
Macon154848
Clay149454
Crenshaw149357
Cleburne146041
Lamar139334
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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