Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Mailing Improvised Explosive Devices to Political Figures
A Florida man admitted in federal court to mailing a total of 16 packages with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to the Camden office of US Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and other Democratic figures around the country. Cesar Sayoc (pictured), 57, pleaded guilty to 65 felony counts on March 21, including using a weapon of mass destruction, interstate transportation of an explosive, conveying a threat in interstate commerce, illegal mailing of explosives with intent to kill or injure another, and carrying an explosive during the commission of a felony. Sayoc stated at the hearing that he intended the IEDs to be used as weapons and knew the damage they could cause when he mailed them in October. The FBI and US Postal Service recovered all of the packages, and none of the intended targets were harmed. Authorities arrested Sayoc on October 26 and found a list of addresses matching the labels used on the envelopes while searching his laptop. Sayoc faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced on September 12.
12 Arrested Following Yearlong Investigation Into New Jersey ‘Ghost Gun,’ Drug Ring
The first charges under a new State law signed in November by Governor Phil Murphy making it a crime to buy, manufacture, possess, or sell “ghost guns” in New Jersey have been filed after a yearlong investigation into a firearm and drug ring in Camden County. Four of the 12 men accused of being involved in the trafficking network are charged with conspiring to sell six untraceable AR-15 assault rifles, NJ Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced on March 18. Authorities seized a total of 13 guns and parts for two additional AR-15 ghost guns during the investigation. While investigating cocaine distribution in Lindenwold, police learned that members of the ring—Christopher Stoner, 41, of Lindenwold; Nicholas Cilien, 38, of Mount Ephraim; Paul Corum, 43, of Lindenwold; and Marc Freeman, 53, of Lindenwold—had been trafficking ghost guns. Prosecutors said the suspects assembled the ghost guns using kits purchased online and sold them for between $1,100 and $1,300 per gun. Corum and Cilien are accused of discussing the need to have guns shipped to Pennsylvania instead of New Jersey due to the new law. Stoner and Cilien are also among 10 individuals charged with distributing narcotics. Authorities arrested the men between March 8 and 14.
Man in Fatal Netherlands Tram Shooting Faces Terrorism Charges
The suspect in a deadly tram shooting in the Dutch city of Utrecht has been charged with offenses that include multiple counts of murder or manslaughter with a terrorist intent, according to prosecutors. The charges filed against Gokmen Tanis on March 21 follow the attack that left three dead and three others seriously injured. The 37-year-old of Turkish descent is also charged with attempted murder or manslaughter and making threats with a terrorist intent. Authorities believe Tanis acted alone when he opened fire on a tram on March 18 and that he had a terrorist motive based on a letter found in a getaway car and no connection with the victims. Authorities placed the city on lockdown after the shooting and raised the terror alert level while they searched for Tanis, who was arrested that evening. Prosecutors said investigators continue to analyze whether the incident “flowed from personal problems combined with a radicalized ideology.” A 40-year-old man remains detained while authorities determine if he had a supporting role outside of the shooting incident, according to prosecutors.