A Palm Desert man facing both federal and state charges stemming from allegations he tossed Molotov cocktails into a Republican group’s office in the Coachella Valley is scheduled Friday to make his initial appearance in federal court.
Carlos Espriu, 23, was arrested Wednesday in Indio in connection with the May 31 firebombing of the East Valley Republican Women Federated office in the 78-800 block of Highway 111 in La Quinta.
Espriu, who is in custody at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside in lieu of $1 million bail, is charged in federal court with attempted arson and is scheduled to be arraigned in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles on Friday afternoon, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Espriu was additionally 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. He is scheduled to be arraigned at the Riverside Hall of Justice in that case on Monday.
The noninjury blaze was reported 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.
RWF President Joy Miedecke has told City News Service 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 as the suspect.
Espriu posted on Twitter sometime before the firebombing: “I wanna go burn s— n get hit with tear gas,” according to federal prosecutors.
He has no documented felony convictions in Riverside County.