Pipe bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc waived his right to a bond hearing Friday in Miami and will be transferred to New York to face charges there.
In the brief detention and removal hearing, which lasted about two minutes, Sayoc spoke only once, answering the judge, “Yes sir,” when asked if he was waiving the bond hearing to New York.
Before the hearing started, Sayoc looked down and took a deep breath; he then started breathing heavily.
Sayoc, 56, was charged with five federal crimes linked to at least 14 mail bombs that were sent to several targets, including former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. None of the devices detonated, and no one was injured.
If convicted, Sayoc could receive up to 48 years in prison.
FBI finds target list, package labels
In the week since his arrest, authorities have called the pipe bombs a “domestic terrorist attack,” seized a van plastered with pro-Trump and anti-Democrat memes that Sayoc owned and intercepted what appears to be a 15th package at an off-site screening facility in Atlanta.
A letter sent to the judge presiding over Sayoc’s case in Florida also revealed a glimpse of how the suspect may have started planning to send the pipe bombs.
“Put simply, only the defendant’s arrest and incapacitation resulting from his detention were sufficient to stop his attack,” the document said.
Searches into Sayoc’s laptop and cell phone showed he had been doing research online about the homes and families of the recipients of the packages. He also kept a list of their physical addresses and had lists of other potential targets, the letter said.
And while the exact content of the packages has not been discussed in detail, prosecutors said the bombs had clear similarities. They were found in envelopes that had return labels listing the address and the name of US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, a former Democratic National Committee chair.
The return labels all had the same misspellings, the letter said.
Video shows suspect chatting with officers
Sayoc was arrested a week ago at an AutoZone parking lot in Plantation, Florida, but it was not the first time that law enforcement approached him near his vehicle.
Two Boca Raton police officers had a friendly chat with the former male dancer outside a fitness club in September. The officer explains someone had called about Sayoc, saying, “They were concerned about you.” The nearly five-minute conversation was recorded on an officer’s bodycam.
The officers seemed to think he was OK. Sayoc told them he was taking a nap after working at a Florida strip club and that he planned to go inside the gym to work out. They checked his license and ran his plate, and they both came back valid.
In the video, Sayoc’s dashboard and front seats are visible but not the rest of the interior.
A law enforcement official had said it appeared that Sayoc had been kicked out by his parents and was living in the white Dodge van.
Investigators suspect that Sayoc made the pipe bombs in that van, two law enforcement sources have said.
Boca Raton police also released a report from 2014 in which a Publix employee said she believed Sayoc was using receipts from other stores in the chain to get money back for items he had allegedy shoplifted.
It is unclear whether the case proceeded further. The report notes the store planned to call the police if Sayoc returned.