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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Former Nuclear Plant Employee Arrested For Making Terrorist Threats

Aired January 9, 2002 - 09:23   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: We've got a little piece of breaking news. Let me jump to this real quickly.

A former, and apparently disgruntled, employee of a nuclear power plant, out near San Juan Capistrano in California, has been arrested for allegedly making terrorist threats against that nuclear facility.

On the phone with us now, from Orange County, California. He's the Public Information Officer for the Sheriffs Department, is Jim Amormino. Jim, nice to have you with us. What happened?

JIM AMORMINO, ORANGE CO. SHERIFF'S DEPT. (via telephone): Well, we received information yesterday from security at San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, that a recently terminated employee had been calling the power plant, making terrorist threats to coworkers and supervisors. He stated he had a number of guns and weapons, and he was going to come to the power plant and kill these people.

We served two search warrants last night at 6:00. We served one on his residence in the city of Laguna Miguel, where we confiscated 54 weapons. Among those weapons were some assault rifles. We served a secondary warrant on the storage area here in the city of San Juan Capistrano, where, at the latest count, we've confiscated approximately 200 additional weapons, along with 4 to 5,000 rounds of ammunition..

During the search, two deputies opened up an ammunitions container. They were overcome by a yellow vapor cloud. Both deputies were rushed to Mission Hospital in the city of Mission Viejo, where they're currently being treated.

(CROSSTALK)

CAFFERTY: What -- I don't mean to interrupt. What do you know about this man? Was he connected to any organizations that you know of, or was he simply, as far as you know, a disgruntled former employee, perhaps looking to take revenge on either the facility or the personnel that he used to be associated with?

AMORMINO: It sounds like he acted as a (AUDIO GAP) to carry out threats. It doesn't appear he's connected to any terrorist groups. Of course, the investigation is just beginning.

CAFFERTY: And how did he come to your attention once again?

AMORMINO: The security director came to Orange County Sheriffs Department yesterday, with these threats. The security director did act very appropriately and swiftly, to avert a possible tragedy.

CAFFERTY: He is in custody now, I presume. What's next?

AMORMINO: He's in custody, in Men's Central Jail in the city of Santa Anna, charged with making terrorist threats, possession of illegal weapons, possession of a controlled substance.

CAFFERTY: Jim, I appreciate you joining us this morning. Thanks for the update. Jim Amormino, he's Public Information Officer at the Orange County Sheriffs Office out there near San Juan Capistrano.

Scary stuff. The guy apparently was not kidding around. He had a bunch of weapons stored...

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Assault rifles, some 50 other weapons sitting around.

CAFFERTY: Wow!

ZAHN: Mean business.

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