|“||Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave home.||„|
|~ Sayoc threatening Democratic strategist Rochelle Ritchie.|
Cesar Sayoc, also known as "the MAGAbomber", is the man who sent over a dozen improvised explosive devices to prominent Democratic figures and critics of Donald Trump, including Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, George Soros, Maxine Waters, the CNN Center, and Robert De Niro. On October 26, 2018, he was arrested in Plantation, Florida. His van was decked out top to bottom with pro-Trump and anti-Democratic bumper stickers. He is currently facing at least 58 years in prison.
Sayoc was born in Brooklyn and moved to Florida as a child. His father is a Filipino immigrant and his mother was born in the Bronx, having Italian heritage. His father abandoned him as a child. Sayoc's last known address was in Aventura, Florida, at his mother's house, but he was living in his van at the time of his arrest.
Sayoc graduated from North Miami Beach High School in 1980. He attended Brevard College for three semesters starting that year and transferred to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1983 where he played on the school's soccer team but did not declare a major.
Sayoc has a long criminal history. In 2002, he pleaded guilty to calling in a bomb threat to Florida Power & Light. He was also arrested on multiple occasions for charges that included theft, battery, and drug possession, with convictions in 1991, 2013, and 2014.
State records list Sayoc as connected to two, now-inactive Hallandale Beach businesses: Proud Native American One Low Price Drycleaning in 2001 and, more recently, at Native American Catering & Vending LLC in 2016. Sayoc's home was foreclosed in 2009 and he filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2012 after accumulating debts of more than $21,000.
Sayoc is a body builder and has abused steroids. He has made numerous false claims about himself and his background. He claimed during a 2014 deposition that he played soccer for A.C. Milan and arena football for the Arizona Rattlers, which both teams have denied. He claimed to have been a popular stripper, an owner of a strip club, and partner in Chippendales; the company says he never worked there and "has never been affiliated in any way with Chippendales". At the time of his 2012 bankruptcy he said he was employed as a store manager of Hassanco Investments in Hollywood, Florida. From January 2017 to January 2018, he worked part time making deliveries for a pizzeria in Fort Lauderdale. At the time of his arrest he was working as a DJ and doorman at a West Palm Beach strip club.
Sayoc is a registered Republican. He registered with the Republican Party on March 4, 2016. Sayoc filmed himself wearing a MAGA hat at one of the president's rallies. Sayoc was active on Twitter and Facebook, where since 2016 he was known for his extreme views and frequently posted pro-Trump and anti-liberal messages and memes, as well as right-wing conspiracy theories and stories from InfoWars, WorldNetDaily, and Breitbart News.
Sayoc's van was seized when he was apprehended. It was covered with images of Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, along with a sticker that read "CNN Sucks".Some posters also supported the "unconquered Seminoles", a Native American tribe. Sayoc has been described as proudly claiming Native American heritage, although the Seminole Tribe of Florida said there was no record of his being a member or employee of the tribe. Other stickers on the van showed Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, liberal documentarian Michael Moore, liberal CNN commentator and host Van Jones, and 2016 Green Party U.S. presidential candidate Jill Stein with gunsight crosshair designs on their faces. Moore stated on Late Night with Seth Meyers on November 2 that the FBI had visited his home to inform him that they discovered Sayoc's computer had evidence indicating he had done extensive research on him. Reports indicate that "soldering equipment, stamps, envelopes, paper, a printer and powder" were found in the van, suggesting that bombs could have been built in it. Law enforcement officials told reporters that Sayoc had a "hit list" of more than 100 people in his van and notified those on it but have not released the names publicly.
Following his arrest, Sayoc was charged with five federal crimes: "interstate transportation of an explosive"; "illegal mailing of explosives"; "threats against former presidents and certain other persons"; "threatening interstate communications"; and "assaulting federal officers". The charges were filed by federal prosecutors of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY). Prosecutors from the SDNY said electronic devices owned by Sayoc had data showing that he began planning the attacks in July 2018.
Sayoc was arraigned in Miami on October 29, 2018 and his court-assigned lawyer entered a plea of not guilty. Three days later, he was ordered to be transferred to New York for trial. On November 6, 2018, a New York judge ordered Sayoc to be held without bail in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York.
On March 21, 2019, Sayoc pleaded guilty to 65 felony counts, including using weapons of mass destruction in an attempted domestic terrorist attack. In court, Sayoc stated: "I sent all 16 devices with the intent to threaten or intimidate. I know these actions were wrong." Sayoc said that he did not intend for the bombs to explode, but "was aware of the risk that it would explode."
He was sentenced to 20 years in prison on August 5, 2019. During sentencing, Judge Jed S. Rakoff stated that the bombs were purposely designed not to explode or cause anyone damage. Bomb experts agreed that Sayoc’s packages were not configured to detonate.
As of October 22, 2019, Sayoc is serving his 20-year sentence at United States Penitentiary, Marion. His earliest possible release date is November 10, 2035.