PLANTATION, United States | AFP | Cesar Altieri Sayoc, the Florida man accused of sending pipe bombs to critics of Donald Trump, had plastered his social media accounts and the van where he was living with signs of his devotion to the Republican president and his hatred for Democrats.
Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida, was arrested on Friday for allegedly mailing at least 13 explosive devices to leading Democratic figures, former high-ranking officials and others, FBI Director Christopher Wray said.
Sayoc faces at least 48 years in prison although further charges are expected to be filed against him for the mail-bombing campaign which heightened political tensions and put the country on edge.
Television footage of Sayoc in custody showed a muscular man in a sleeveless black shirt with close-cropped black hair.
Sayoc has been arrested several times previously, including in Miami-Dade County in 2002 for making a bomb threat against a power company, according to court records available online. He was sentenced to a year on probation. He has also been arrested for theft and domestic violence.
Sayoc, who sometimes goes by the name Cesar Altieri, also has a history of financial problems and filed for bankruptcy in 2012, according to county records.
Sayoc’s political leanings are on full display on his Facebook page, his Twitter accounts and his impounded white van — which was covered with pro-Trump decals and anti-Democrat stickers.
A picture on Sayoc’s Facebook page shows him wearing a red Trump “Make America Great Again” hat and photos have since surfaced of him attending Trump rallies in Florida.
One of the windows of his van, which was seized by the FBI, features pictures of former president Barack Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with red bulls-eyes on their faces.
There’s also a “CNN Sucks” sticker with a target over the face of one of the network’s frequent commentators, Van Jones.
Obama, Clinton and CNN were intended recipients of the pipe bombs sent through the mail with a return address in Florida.
Debra Gureghian, the general manager of a pizza restaurant in Fort Lauderdale where Sayoc worked as a delivery truck driver for several months, described him to The Washington Post as “crazed.”
“That’s the best word for him,” Gureghian said. “There was something really off with him.”
“He was very angry and angry at the world, at blacks, Jews, gays,” she said.
“He never said he would kill them or murder them or bomb them he just said ‘If I had complete autonomy the gays, the black and Jews would not survive,'” she said. “He was very, very strange.”
– Tweeted right-wing memes –
Sayoc appears to have had at least two Twitter accounts — @hardrock2016 and @hardrockintlent — where he posted as Cesar Altieri and “Julus Cesar Milan.”
The last post on Sayoc’s @hardrock2016 account dates from Wednesday.
It is a retweet of a composite image claiming that Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor of Florida, “admitted” taking money from billionaire George Soros.
Soros, who is a prominent funder of left-of-center causes, was also an intended recipient of an explosive device.
The post is one of a number of crude tweets critical of Democrats — including California Representative Maxine Waters and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, both of whom were targets of mail bombs.
Another Twitter post references the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose return address was used for the packages containing pipe bombs.
In the Twitter post, Sayoc misspells Schultz’s name as “Shultz,” a misspelling that was also used on the mail bomb packages.
In a June post, Sayoc wishes a happy birthday to Trump.
“Happy Birthday greatest Commander Chief disruptor shake Washington upside down,” it said. “Thank you for all you do against everyone and not be stopped ever. Straight ahead get it done awesome build Wall.”
Most of the posts on Sayoc’s Twitter feeds were retweets of right-wing memes attacking Democrats and dark conspiracy theories.
Sayoc describes himself on one of his Twitter feeds as a former professional soccer player, wrestler and cage fighter.
On his LinkedIn profile, Sayoc claims to have attended Brevard College in North Carolina and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and to have studied veterinary medicine.
“Career decision of becoming a Horse Doctor was always a love for animals, which were here first and never do anything to anyone,” his LinkedIn bio says. “And respect all living things.”
Sayoc makes repeated references to the Seminole Indian tribe on his Twitter feed but on his LinkedIn profile he mentions Filipino ancestry, saying his grandfather was a prominent surgeon in the Philippines.
He claims to have worked for the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, but the hotel and Seminole tribe said they have “no evidence” that he ever worked there or was a member of the tribe.