Coachella Valley Man Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison for Firebombing Republican Club in La Quinta
LOS ANGELES – A Riverside County man who used a Molotov cocktail in an attempt to destroy the East Valley Republican Women Federated (EVRWF) office in La Quinta was sentenced today to 60 months in federal prison.
Carlos Espriu, 24, of Palm Desert, who has been in federal custody since his arrest in September 2020, was sentenced by United States District Judge Percy Anderson. Judge Anderson also ordered Espriu to pay $5,426 in restitution to the victim for the damage caused by the firebombing.
Espriu pleaded guilty on March 15 to one count of attempted arson of a building.
During the early morning hours of May 31, 2020, 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.
Several minutes later, surveillance video shows Espriu returning to the EVRWF office, smashing more windows with the bat and reaching into building to retrieve the Molotov cocktails before walking away with the device. Espriu returned to the EVRWF office about 30 seconds later, this time without a mask, and threw the set of bottles into the facility, which immediately caused a fire to start.
Law enforcement executed search warrants on Espriu’s residence and car, and recovered a dash camera, among other items. Stored on the dash camera was a recording from June 28, 2020 in which Espriu spoke to a woman in detail about lighting the fire at the EVRWF. He described his planning, his attempts to recruit others to help him, and the steps he took to start the fire.
The FBI’s Inland Empire Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Sara B. Milstein of the Violent and Organized Crime Section prosecuted this case.