A Palm Desert man who was sentenced in federal court to five years behind bars for throwing a firebomb into a Republican office in the Coachella Valley is scheduled to appear in Riverside County Superior Court Thursday, where he is facing similar charges.
Carlos Espriu, 24, pleaded guilty in March to a single federal count of attempted arson of a building, admitting that he used a Molotov cocktail in an attempt to destroy the East Valley Republican Women Federated office in La Quinta in May 2020.
U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson also ordered the defendant, who remains in custody, to pay $5,426 in restitution for damage caused by the firebombing.
Meanwhile, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office charged him with three felonies — 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 and faces up to 15 years and eight months in state prison if convicted as charged.
Espriu is scheduled to appear for a felony settlement conference at the Riverside Hall of Justice on Thursday morning. He previously pleaded not guilty in state court before being transferred to federal custody.
During the early morning hours of May 31 last year, Espriu broke the front windows of the EVRWF headquarters and tossed inside a lighted Molotov cocktail made of three bottles he had taped together, according to federal prosecutors.
Nobody was injured in the blaze. Arriving firefighters quickly extinguished the fire before it could cause much damage, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
EVRWF President Joy Miedecke said surveillance footage showed a man set the fire after breaking the windows with a baseball bat. Tips generated from the organization’s reward offer apparently helped authorities identify Espriu.
According to federal prosecutors, Espriu posted on Twitter sometime before the arson attack: “I wanna go burn (stuff and) get hit with tear gas.”
The attack occurred as protests over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer were brewing across the country.