Seminole Tribe of Florida Says Accused Bomber Wasn’t a Member

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
October 26, 2018USshare

The Seminole Tribe of Florida said that the suspect linked to the suspicious packages sent to various locations nationwide is not a member.

“There’s no record of him being a member of the tribe. He’s not a member of the Seminole Tribe, has never been a member of the Seminole Tribe,” tribe spokesman Gary Bitner told Politico after Cesar Sayoc was arrested on Oct. 26.

Some of Sayoc’s online postings indicated that he believed he was a member of the tribe.

Bitner said that he didn’t think Sayoc ever worked for the tribe either.

Bomb threat mails suspect Cesar Sayoc arrested
A van covered in a blue tarp is towed by FBI investigators on Oct. 26, 2018, in Plantation, Fla., in connection with the pipe bombs and suspicious packages mailed to top Democrats. (Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP/Getty Images)

“He has used so many names and has so many businesses that it’s complicated to check his employment record with the tribe, but so far we haven’t found any,” he said.

According to its website, the Seminole Tribe of Florida is a federally recognized Indian tribe and claims to be the only tribe in America “that never signed a peace treaty.”

The tribe dates back hundreds of years, with its first recorded contact with Europeans being in 1510.

It gained federal status in 1957 and currently lives in part on a reservation in Hollywood.

Sayoc’s former lawyer Ronald Lowy said that his father had told him he was Native American.

Sayoc is accused of being involved in the mailing of devices that authorities believe were designed to explode or at least appear to be capable of exploding. Some experts said, noting how none actually exploded, that they were likely meant to strike fear in their recipients as opposed to killing people.

Former President Barack Obama, former presidential contender Hillary Clinton, and actor Robert De Niro are among the people who  were sent packages. As of Friday afternoon, authorities said 13 were intercepted or found.

Suspect who allegedly mailed pipe bombs captured in Florida
Cesar Sayoc in an undated booking photo in Miami, Fla. Federal authorities took Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Fla., into custody Oct. 26, 2018, in Florida in connection with a nationwide mail-bomb scare. (Broward County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Sayoc’s History

Sayoc, 56, of Aventura is an amateur bodybuilder and businessman whose online résumé describes him as a promoter and booking agent for male stripper and burlesque shows. He was born in New York City and attended college in North Carolina before moving to the Miami suburbs in the late 1980s.

At the auto parts store in Plantation, Florida, where Sayoc was taken into custody, authorities towed away a white van covered with stickers supporting President Donald Trump and criticizing media outlets and high-profile political figures that included some who received the pipe bombs this week.

Court records in Florida show that Sayoc was arrested in 2002 and served a year of probation for a felony charge of threatening to throw or place a bomb. Court records available online did not immediately provide further details about the case, but his lawyer at the time said the case involved a heated conversation with a Florida utility representative.

Lowy, a Miami attorney, said Sayoc became frustrated about a lack of service and told a Florida Power and Light 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.” Lowy said 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 was also convicted in 2014 of grand theft and misdemeanor theft of less than $300, and in 2013 for battery. In 2004, he faced several felony charges for unlawful possession of a synthetic anabolic steroid often used to help build muscles. He also had several arrests for theft in the 1990s and faced a felony charge for obtaining fraudulent refunds and a misdemeanor count of tampering with physical evidence.

Lowy said he recalled that Sayoc also had a run-in with authorities over possession of steroids and another case in Broward County where he was charged with possessing a fake driver’s license after altering his birthdate to make him appear younger.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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