By Carlo Versano
Federal authorities have arrested Cesar Sayoc, Jr., a 56-year-old Florida resident, in connection with a dozen packages containing likely explosives sent to prominent figures and institutions around the U.S. over the past week.
Sayoc lives in Aventura and has a criminal record, according to the Broward County Sheriff.
President Trump, speaking at a summit for young black Republicans, commended law enforcement for the arrest and called the mail bombing attempts "terrorizing acts."
"We must never allow political violence to take root in America," Trump said. "I'm committed to doing everything in my power as president to stop it and stop it now."
Chopper video from Miami local news stations showed police outside an auto-parts store in Plantation, Fla. FBI agents covered a white van with a tarp before loading it onto a flatbed truck.
Two additional suspicious packages sent to prominent Democrats were intercepted earlier Friday, only hours before the manhunt appeared to close in on a suspect for the attempted mail bombings now being described as a domestic terrorism.
Reporting from the distribution center where investigators are focused in Opa-Locka, Fla., Cheddar's J.D. Durkin said the escalation of political violence is expected to play a role in key midterm races such as in Florida's 26th district, where Democratic challenger Debbie Mucarsel-Powell urged Republican leaders to denounce what she called "acts of terrorism."
The FBI confirmed Friday morning that authorities intercepted a package addressed to Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) that was similar in appearance to the pipe-bomb parcels sent this week to other prominent Democrats. Moments later, CNN reported a package addressed to James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence under President Obama, was found at a postal facility in Manhattan, N.Y. That package was addressed to Clapper care of CNN's New York office ー much like the device sent to CNN's mailroom was addressed to John Brennan, a former director of the CIA.
Speaking to Durkin from Miami-Dade County, Mucarsel-Powell, who is running neck-and-neck with incumbent Rep. Carlos Curbelo, said, "This is a very important time for us to unite regardless of party."
On Thursday night, Homeland Security Sec. Kristjen Nielsen said in an interview that authorities had zeroed in on Florida as a region of interest in the manhunt. At least some of the packages were reportedly processed at the sprawling mail sorting facility in Opa-Locka, about 10 miles north of Miami.
While all the packages sent this week were intended for people or entities that are high-profile critics of President Trump, authorities have not yet said definitively that they have determined a motive.
Earlier Friday, Trump continued to attack CNN in tweets and lamented that the "'Bomb' stuff" ー an attempted domestic terror attack on his political critics ー has slowed the momentum of Republicans going into the election.