US parcel bomb suspect charged with 5 federal crimes

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C., the United States, Oct. 26, 2018. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Friday that package bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc, of Florida, is in the custody of the FBI and has been charged with five federal crimes. 

"He has been charged today with 5 federal crimes, including interstate transportation of an explosive, illegal mailing of explosives, threats against former presidents and certain other persons," Sessions told a press conference announcing the charges.

The defendant faces up to 58 years in prison if found guilty and charges against him "charges may change or expand as the investigation proceeds," Sessions said.

"We will not tolerate such lawlessness, especially political violence," he said.

Sayoc, 56, is accused of sending more than a dozen pipe bombs through the mail to prominent Democratic figures, including former President Barack Obama and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as liberal news channel CNN.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told reporters that federal authorities have located 13 improvised explosive devices that were similarly assembled and that they were "not hoax devices."

Each of the pipe bombs contained materials that could react and cause a potential explosion, according to Wray.

He said that it's too early to discuss a motive behind the pipe bombs, none of which exploded and led to injuries.

According to court and other public records, Sayoc has a lengthy criminal and court record in Florida.

Reports said Sayoc is a registered Republican and ardent Trump supporter who pushed far-right conspiracy theories online.

Earlier in the day, U.S. President Donald Trump said the suspect will be prosecuted "to the fullest extent of the law."

Speaking at the White House, Trump said "these terrorizing acts are despicable," while calling upon Americans to unify. 

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