Man Almost Loads Bomb on US Commercial Jet

A Pennsylvania man has been busted after trying to load luggage containing an explosive device on a commercial jet in his home state and fleeing the airport after it was discovered.

Explosives Plus Other Suspicious Items

The somewhat bizarre incident occurred at Lehigh Valley International Airport after the suspect, 40-year-old Mark Muffley, checked a piece of baggage with an explosive device.

Once the explosives were detected and Muffley was ordered through the loudspeakers to report to airport security, he escaped and went back to his house in Lanford, Pennsylvania.

That was where he was arrested by FBI agents, The Daily Wire reported. The explosive device that Muffley tried to get on board a commercial airplane had a diameter of three inches and was inside a plastic bag, wrapped in wax-like paper.

Experts established later that it contained power typically found in commercial-grade fireworks, a mix of dark granular and flash powder, according to the criminal complaint against Muffley.

The document makes it clear that the device “posed a significant risk” to the plane and its passengers since its components could easily ignite from friction and heat.

Besides the actual explosives, the Pennsylvania man’s airplane luggage also contained a lighter, a can of butane, a wireless drill, and a pipe with traces of white powder, among others.

Bomb experts and FBI agents were called up Lehigh Valley International Airport after airport security discovered the explosives at about 11 am on Monday.

The airport’s terminal where the problematic bag was detected remained closed for around three hours until it was cleared to be reopened around 2 pm.

Serious Risk to Passengers and Aircraft

The federal criminal complaint against Muffley contains two charges against him – one over the possession of explosives in an airport and the second over the attempted placing of explosives on an aircraft.

A hearing held on Thursday fir Muffley’s case saw a federal judge ordering him to be kept in custody pending trial, CNN reported.

The judge declared the Pennsylvania man was a flight risk and dangerous to the community. During the hearing, the suspect didn’t enter a plea. The report reveals the explosives in Muffley’s bag were detected automatically and an airport alarm went off.

The suspect had checked his baggage on Flight 201 which was going to Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida. After Muffley didn’t show up when ordered through the airport telecom, security footage showed he had left in a hurry.

After that, the FBI got in touch with the chief detective in Carbon County, who happened to know Muffley personally and confirmed his address. The potential wannabe aircraft terrorist was then busted without any incidents the same evening in his Lansford, Pennsylvania, home.

Jonathan McDonald, Muffley’s lawyer, argued during Thursday’s court hearing that the charges against his client were excessive since the device in his bag didn’t meet the legal definitions mentioned in the charges.

Court records show that Muffley faced over half a dozen charges of petty crime such as minor theft, drug possession, and harassment.