Cesar Altieri Sayoc was sentenced Monday August 5, 2019 to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to sending 16 pipe bombs (IED’s) in the mail to prominent Democrats and Trump critics in October 2018.
The packages were to sent to addresses in New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Georgia, and California.
According to the US Department of Justice, Sayoc’s intended 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. Between October 22 and Nov. 2, 2018, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Service recovered all of the 16 IEDs mailed by Sayoc.
In less than five days after the recovery of the first IED on October 22 which was sent to George Soros in New York, Sayoc, who lived in a van plastered with hate images, was arrested by the FBI in Plantation, Florida, on Oct. 26, 2018 at an Auto Zone store.
Cesar Altieri Sayoc pled guilty to the 65-count Superseding Information on March 21, 2019, before U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who also imposed the sentence.
“I could not be more proud of the work by our Joint Terrorism Task Forces across the country, our partners including the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Secret Service, and the FBI’s Laboratory and Counterterrorism Divisions to bring Cesar Sayoc to justice,” said Assistant Director Michael McGarrity of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. “This case should serve as a warning to anyone looking to intimidate or hurt those they disagree with that the FBI will stop at nothing to protect the communities we serve from the threat of domestic terrorism.”
According to the information provided by the US Department of Justice Press Release, each of the IEDs mailed by Sayoc contained a mix of explosive powder from fireworks, shards of glass, and pool chemicals, designed to maximize potential injuries, damage, and the burning of his intended Victims’ skin.
On the outside of each IED, Sayoc placed photographs of each of the Victims, and sometimes their families and others, with a red “X” over their faces. Sayoc also affixed black flags, similar in appearance to banners used by ISIS and other foreign terrorist organizations, to the outside of the IEDs.
Sayoc had posted incendiary comments about liberal political figures online since at least 2011.
At the time of Sayoc’s arrest, The Washington Post quoted President Trump as saying “We will prosecute them, him, her, whoever it may be, to the fullest extent of the law. We must never allow political violence to take root in America, and I’m committed to doing everything in my power as president to stop it and stop it now.”
In the months prior to mailing the IEDs, Sayoc incited violence against the Victims, conveyed direct threats against them, and researched where and how to carry out his attack.
- April 2016, he wrote that former President Barack Obama’s “head need[ed] to be chopped off” and he wished “death” to George Soros and former Attorney General Eric Holder.
- April 2017, Sayoc wished “Death” to “all Clintons” and in November 2017 posted “Your days are number[ed] Steyer.”
- December 2017, Sayoc researched the Victims and their addresses.
- Dec. 23, 2017, Sayoc searched for the address of Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and, over the course of the ensuing months, Sayoc repeatedly searched for the “home address” or “address” of several of the Victims, and Sayoc intensified these searches in the days before his attack.
Finally, Sayoc researched online how to make a “letter bomb” and watched videos depicting explosions.
“Sayoc’s crimes were intended to incite fear among his targets and uncertainty among the general public, leading to a significant deployment of various law enforcement resources in a nationwide search to find him. When called upon, our FBI JTTFs across the country – along with our partner agencies – did what we do best, working swiftly, and side by side, to bring him to justice. Unlike most of our investigations, this case played out in plain view from beginning to end. Today’s sentencing is as good a time as any to remind the public that our JTTFs are working behind the scenes on a daily basis, in much the same way, to keep our communities safe,” FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said.
In addition to his prison sentence, Sayoc, 57, of Florida, was sentenced to five years of supervised release.