The FBI has arrested a man accused of trying to plant an explosive on a plane. A 40-year-old man showed up at a Pennsylvania airport with a suitcase containing explosives and two detonators. The man checked in the suitcase as luggage.
The incident happened Monday at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Pennsylvania. Mark Muffley, 40, checked in a suitcase to be placed in the hold of a plane bound for Sanford, Florida.
Luggage was searched as part of standard procedure. The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said one of its officers found a suspicious item in a suitcase that looked like an explosive device.
“The FBI and local police sappers determined that the item was indeed an active explosive device,” a TSA spokesman said.
The explosive was hidden in the lining of the suitcase, with two detonators and the powder contained in waxed paper and plastic packaging, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.
“We suspect the powder to be a mixture of flash powder and dark granules used in the manufacture of commercial fireworks,” the FBI said. “Black powder and flash powder are susceptible to ignition by heat and friction and pose a serious risk to the aircraft and passengers,” the statement added.
Flash powder is a mixture consisting most often of aluminum or magnesium dust or aluminum-magnesium alloy dust mixed with an oxidizing substance. It is characterized by the fact that it generates a strong flash during combustion. It is used to produce magnesium light
Suspect detained in his home
After the suspect luggage was secured, an alarm was sounded. Over the loudspeakers, its owner was called to report to airport security. A few minutes later, Muffley was seen leaving the airport, the FBI reported. The man was arrested shortly after at his home.
Airport authorities said they briefly closed part of the main terminal where investigators were examining a suspicious suitcase on Monday.
Details about the incident, including the suspect’s alleged motives, are not known, Reuters reported, adding that it had not been able to contact Mufley or his lawyer.
ABC News reported that Muffley is due to appear in court on Thursday.
Main photo source: Reuters