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Cop Who Arrested Sayoc In 2002 Says Alleged Pipe Bomber "Not Well"

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- The Miami police investigator who arrested Cesar Sayoc for threatening to blow up an FPL building in 2002 told CBS Miami he was not surprised when he heard Sayoc was arrested in connection with the recent spate of package bombs.

"Unfortunately, in law enforcement things like this can come back up," said the retired investigator, who spoke on condition his name not be released.

"I think anybody who wants to kill somebody there are some issues there," he added. "I obviously think this person is not well."

Sayoc, 56, is facing at least five federal charges related to the thirteen package bombs that were shipped out of South Florida to former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, actor Robert DeNiro, and Democratic activists Tom Steyer and George Soros.  Sayoc was arrested Friday morning in Plantation.

CBS4's Jim DeFede and former Assistant US Assistant David Weinstein on mail bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc

With numerous arrests in his past, one previous charge against Sayoc stood out – a 2002 conviction for making a bomb threat. According to a police report at the time, Sayoc "threatened to blow up FPL and that `It would be worse than September 11.'" He also threatened to kill the FPL representative "if they cut his electricity."

"There was nothing significant that stands out about that case," the former bomb squad investigator explained.

"We were getting a lot of calls right after 9/11," he said, adding the complaint also came in the midst of the anthrax mail threats that were terrorizing elected officials. "Normally the bomb squad gets a couple of calls a month. Back then [in 2002] we were getting fifteen a day."

The investigator, along with an agent from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, drove to Sayoc's apartment in Hallandale Beach to make the arrest. The police report listed Sayoc's occupation in 2002 as "Dry Cleaner."

The investigator said the arrest went smoothly and that Sayoc was cooperative. He eventually pleaded guilty to the bomb threat charge and was sentenced to one-year probation.

Now a private security consultant, the former bomb technician said soon after Sayoc was arrested Friday morning he started getting phone calls from former law enforcement colleagues. "I remembered the name, but not the picture," he said.

The former Miami police investigator said it was impressive, but not shocking, that federal agents made an arrest in the package bomb case so quickly. "The investigative tools available for law enforcement now are amazing," he said. "There are always leads available."

Asked if he had spoken Friday to the FBI or members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force regarding his interactions with Sayoc in 2002, the investigator responded: "I better not say."

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