MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The man taken into custody Friday in connection to a series of package bombs mailed to top Democrats and critics of President Donald Trump is no stranger to the law.
Cesar Alteri Sayoc Jr., 56, was arrested at an Auto Zone store on State Road 7 in Plantation around 10:30 a.m. A law enforcement source told CBS4 that DNA evidence led the FBI to Sayoc who reportedly has ties to New York and has a criminal history. He was not previously known to the Secret Service.
Those who knew him well say he was certainly passionate about politics.
“Every conversation we ever had rolled right back to politics. No matter what subject it started on it always went back to politics,” said Justin Humburger.
Humburger used Sayoc as his business manager a couple of years ago.
“His views were very Republican and right-leaning. But it’s never come to an act of violence or where he threatened violence where these people should die because of their views or the policies they are stating,” he said.
“I don’t expect him to have the technical skill to create a device to kill people,” he added.
According to court and other public records, Sayoc was convicted in the 1990s in Broward County on grand theft and stolen property charges.
Court records show that Sayoc was arrested in 2002 for a felony charge of threatening to throw or place a bomb.
Hia lawyer at the time, Miami attorney Ronald Lowy, said Sayoc threatened to throw a bomb in a conversation with a Florida Power and Light representative. Dade County court records showed Sayoc served a year’s probation after a judge signed a discharge certificate in November 2002.
Lowy said Sayoc became frustrated about a lack of service and told the FPL employee “something to the effect that you’re not taking care of my problem and I bet you would if I threw a bomb at you.” He added that Sayoc showed no ability at the time to back up his threat with any bomb-making expertise.
The lawyer went on to describe Sayoc as “a confused man who had trouble controlling his emotions.”
Sayoc is an amateur bodybuilder and businessman whose online resume describes him as a promoter and booking agent for male stripper and burlesque shows.
The general manager of the Ultra Gentlemen’s Club in West Palm Beach, Stacy Saccal, said Sayoc had worked there for about two months, first as a floor bouncer and for the past month as a disc jockey. Most recently on Thursday night, hours before his arrest Friday morning.
Court documents filed in Hennepin County, Minnesota show that Sayoc was charged in 1995 with fifth-degree drug possession and theft by swindle.
Sayoc was 33 when he went to health supplement stores in the Twin Cities and purchased large amounts of vitamins and supplements. He allegedly returned the items, but with the merchandise taken out and replaced with water or beans.
When he was arrested, he allegedly was in possession of crack cocaine, which police say was found on the floor of the squad car, according to a criminal complaint obtained by the newspaper.
The suspected crack was destroyed before ever being brought to the city chemist. As such, the case against him was dropped. It’s unclear why it took 10 years, the newspaper reports.
In 2004, he faced several felony charges for unlawful possession of a synthetic anabolic steroid often used to help build muscles.
Sayoc was convicted in 2014 for grand theft and misdemeanor theft of less than $300, and in 2013 for battery.
Records also suggest Sayoc had recent financial problems, including filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 2012. His name is also listed on business records tied to dry cleaning and catering businesses.
Sayoc was born in New York City and attended college in North Carolina before moving to the Miami suburbs in the late 1980s.
He is a registered Republican with social media accounts containing memes supporting Trump, denigrating Democrats, and promoting conspiracy theories about George Soros, the billionaire political donor who was the first targeted this week by a package bomb.
Friday morning Sayoc’s white van, adorned with images of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, as well as a “CNN Sucks” sticker, was towed from the auto parts store parking lot to an FBI field office in Miramar.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)