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Report: Beto O'Rourke received threatening messages from pipe bomb suspect

By Matthew Watkins and Emma Platoff

Months before he was arrested on allegations of mailing bombs to several prominent Democrats, Cesar Sayoc sent threatening messages over Facebook to U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, a spokesman for O'Rourke's U.S. Senate campaign told The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday.

"We received a threat via Facebook from that individual in April, a threat toward Beto, and we immediately reported it to the [U.S.] Capitol police," the spokesman, Chris Evans, told the newspaper. "Then we turned over the message and the information and the threat to the FBI in July."

The messages included pictures of O'Rourke's family and a warning to "hug your loved ones everytime you leave home. See you soon."

Last week, the FBI sent agents to O'Rourke's El Paso campaign office to check the mail.

Sayoc faces charges that include interstate transportation of explosives and illegal mailing of explosives. The bombs were sent to the homes or offices of former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and billionaire George Soros, who has donated to Democratic causes.

Another possible Texas target was state Rep. Poncho Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, who told The Texas Tribune on Wednesday that he heard from the FBI this week. On Tuesday morning, he said, agents came to his office in Eagle Pass to inform him that Sayoc had been searching for him online.

“The guy was Googling me, stalking me, trying to find out stuff about me — coming up with my address at the Capitol and at home,” Nevárez said.

Hours later on Tuesday, Nevárez was informed that a suspicious package had been mailed to his office at the Texas Capitol in Austin, resulting in the evacuation of several offices in the building. Law enforcement officials eventually said that “no viable threat was discovered.”

Nevárez said he had no idea why he might have been a target for Sayoc — but the coincidence was eerie. He added that he plans to step up security measures.

This article originally appeared at The Texas Tribune.

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