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Former Alabama Police Officer Faces Weapons, Bomb Charges

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A former Birmingham police officer faces a string of weapons, drug and obscenity charges stemming from the discovery of a suspected bomb in a van he was driving.

Nicholas Mazzarella, 42, of West Blocton is being held in Bibb County Jail on $220,000 bail. Mazzarella was taken into custody Friday after Bibb County deputies chased a white van into Tuscaloosa County. A high-powered rifle, 100 rounds of ammunition and what authorities believe was an explosive device were found inside the van.

A bomb squad used a robot to diffuse the device, which contained a chemical compound and shotgun shells. Authorities said agents also found a small amount of crack cocaine and an empty grenade canister.

Bibb County Sheriff Keith Hannah said the bomb led investigators to get a search warrant for Mazzarella's residence where they found 52 firearms, some of which had been reported stolen.

Hannah said investigators are aware of no licenses that Mazzarella has obtained that allow him to own or carry such firearms.

Bibb County agents also discovered small amounts of suspected powder cocaine and methamphetamine and a cache of suspicious pornographic material.

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