Man arrested for trying to plant explosive device in plane at US airport
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: US District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
A US man has been arrested at Pennsylvania airport and charged with attempting to place an explosive device on an aircraft.
Mark Muffley, 40, triggered security alarms in Lehigh Valley International Airport when he checked a suitcase for a flight to Sanford, Florida.
A US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official did a 'routine screening' of the bag to find what appeared to be a live explosive device.
When the FBI and local police were called to the scene, an inspection confirmed that the item 'was indeed a live explosive device', according to a TSA spokesperson.
Court documents seen by NBC News revealed that Muffley was dropped off at the airport at approximately 10.45am.
The explosive was detected at around 11.40am, and by 11.45am, Muffley was seen on CCTV leaving the airport.
Documents noted that the explosive, a circular compound wrapped in wax paper and plastic wrap, had been hidden within the lining of the suitcase.
The FBI stated in the court documents that the device contained powder and two fuses.
The powder was 'suspected to be a mixture of flash powder and the dark granulars that are used in commercial grade fireworks'.
According to the criminal complaint, the 'black powder and flash powder are susceptible to ignite from heat and friction and posed a significant risk to the aircraft and passengers.'
One of the fuses was a 'quick fuse' that appeared to have been on the product when it was first manufactured, and the other was said to be a 'hobby fuse' that had been added later.
An affidavit found that the bag also contained a lighter, a wireless drill, two electrical outlets taped together with black tape, a can of butane, and a pipe with white powder residue.
The discovery triggered an alarm and the airport was evacuated as a security measure.
As soon as the alarm went off, officials paged Mr Muffley to head to airport security but, just minutes later, he was seen leaving the airport.
The FBI later tracked Muffley down at his home and arrested him.
Muffley was in custody on Wednesday 1 March, and was scheduled to attend a probable cause and detention hearing today.
Charges listed against Muffley include possession of an explosive in an airport, and possessing or attempting to place or attempting to have placed an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft.
Investigations into the incident and Muffley's background are ongoing.