LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Palm Desert man facing both federal and state charges stemming from allegations he tossed Molotov cocktails into a Republican group's office is expected to plead guilty today in Los Angeles to a federal charge.
Carlos Espriu, 23, has agreed to plead guilty to a single count of attempted arson of a building used in interstate and foreign commerce and used in activities affecting interstate and foreign commerce. The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Espriu is accused of the May 31 firebombing of the East Valley Republican Women Federated office in La Quinta.
Along with the federal charge, Espriu was charged by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office with one count of arson of a non-dwelling and two counts of possessing destructive or explosive devices. He also faces a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a device designed to accelerate the fire.
The noninjury blaze was reported at about 1:30 a.m. on the last day of May. Arriving firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze before it could cause much damage, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
Federal prosecutors allege Espriu used an “improvised incendiary device constructed of three bottles'' that he tossed inside the building to ignite a fire, according to documents filed in Los Angeles federal court.
RWF President Joy Miedecke said that surveillance footage showed a man set the fire after breaking the windows with a baseball bat. She also said her organization had offered a reward for his capture.
Tips generated from the reward offer apparently helped authorities identify Espriu.
Espriu posted on Twitter sometime before the firebombing: “I wanna go burn (stuff and) get hit with tear gas,'' according to federal prosecutors.
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