A Palm Desert man faces sentencing Monday in Los Angeles for throwing a firebomb into a Republican group’s office last year in the Coachella Valley.
Carlos Espriu, 23, 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. The charge carries a sentence between five and 20 years behind bars, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
During the early morning hours of May 31 last year, Espriu broke the front windows of the EVRWF headquarters and repeatedly tossed through the windows a lighted Molotov cocktail made of three bottles he had taped together, according to federal prosecutors.
In his plea agreement, filed in Los Angeles federal court, Espriu agreed to pay at least $5,426 in restitution for the damage caused by the firebombing.
Espriu was also 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 and faces up to 15 years and eight months in state prison if convicted as charged.
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.”