FBI says fingerprint on package to Maxine Waters led them to Cesar Sayoc

A fingerprint on a potentially explosive package sent to U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters is how the FBI connected a South Florida man to 13 packages sent to prominent Democrats this week.

The Department of Justice announced Friday that Cesar Sayoc, a 56-year-old man from Aventura, will be charged on 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 five charges carry a potential 58 years in total jail time if Sayoc is convicted, attorney general Jeff Sessions said.

“We do believe that we’ve caught the right person,” FBI director Chris Wray said at a news conference in Washington. “Once I knew they [the FBI] had a print, I was pretty confident we’d be able to find the right person.”

Law enforcement officials confirmed that 13 total suspicious packages were sent over the past week. Each of the packages contained 6 inches of PVC pipe, a small clock battery, wiring and “energetic material” that could be potentially explosive if exposed to heat, shock or friction, Wray said.

The package sent to Waters was found at a facility that processes congressional mail just outside Washington, and it was quickly transported to an FBI facility in Quantico, Virginia. FBI employees then identified a fingerprint on that package that led to Sayoc.

Wray did not confirm if there are other potential suspects associated with the packages, citing an ongoing investigation.

“This is phenomenal work with the greatest pressure under and incredibly tight timeframe,” Wray said. “We see this work on TV and in Hollywood but to see it in reality is something to behold.”

Alex Daugherty, @alextdaugherty, 202-383-6049