A Pennsylvania man was arrested after an explosive device was found in his luggage at Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley International Airport.
Mark Muffley, 40, was attempting to board an Allegiant flight from Pennsylvania to Orlando Sanford International Airport, when the device was found in a checked bag. He is now in FBI custody, officials said.
Transportation Security Administration agents found a “circular compound approximately three inches in diameter, wrapped in a wax-like paper and clear plastic wrap hidden in the lining of the baggage, among other items,” after an alarm went off.
“The baggage also contained a can of butane, a lighter, a pipe with white powder residue, a wireless drill with cordless batteries, and two GFCI outlets taped together with black tape,” according to the criminal complaint.
TSA agents then paged Muffley over the airport intercom system and asked him to report to security, but he did not show up. Security cameras then caught Muffley leaving the airport.
“The FBI arrested Marc Muffley, 40, without incident at his Lansford, Pa., residence late Monday night,” said an FBI spokesperson.
The device was detected during the routine screening of checked baggage. The suitcase triggered an alarm when it entered the baggage screening unit, which required a TSA officer to physically inspect the contents of the luggage. During the inspection, the TSA officer located an item inside the suitcase that appeared to be suspicious and was believed to possibly be a live explosive device.
Out of an abundance of caution, the immediate area of airport was evacuated and the Lehigh- Northampton Airport Authority Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were notified. FBI and local law enforcement bomb technicians determined that the item was indeed an explosive device.
“Transportation Security Officers are highly trained and highly skilled professionals at the front line of aviation security who are focused on their mission and catches such as this illustrate the point,” said TSA Federal Security Director Karen Keys-Turner. “This is an example of how the strong partnerships we have established with the airport authority, FBI and local law enforcement came together to ensure the safety and security of the traveling public. I commend our entire TSA team at Lehigh Valley International Airport and the professional manner in which this incident was handled.”
The incident closed the airport for more than two hours.
TSA said in a statement that “out of an abundance of caution, the immediate area of airport was evacuated and the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were notified.”
Muffley is scheduled to appear in court this afternoon.