Man arrested after explosive device found in luggage at US airport

FBI says powder from ‘commercial grade firework’ was hidden in lining of suitcase headed to Sanford, Florida

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Thursday 02 March 2023 11:39 GMT

Explosive found in bag at Pennsylvania airport, man arrested

A Pennsylvania man was arrested by the FBI after airport security found a homemade explosive device in luggage he had checked for an Allegiant flight to Florida.

Mark Muffley, 40, was travelling to Sanford, Florida, from Lehigh Valley International Airport on Monday when officials made the discovery which they said “posed a significant risk to the aircraft and passengers.”

An FBI affidavit in the case states that his suitcase allegedly triggered an alarm during TSA screening, which caused security staff to carry out a physical inspection of the suitcase.

Inside the lining of the suitcase they allegedly found a circular compound “wrapped in a wax-like paper and clear plastic wrap”, reported WFMZ-TV.

The TSA raised the alarm and the FBI were called in to inspect the suitcase. A bomb technician X-rayed the material and concluded that it was a powder “consistent with a commercial grade firework.”

The suitcase 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,” authorities said. A GFCI outlet is a type of circuit breaker.

A “quick fuse” similar to a candle wick was attached to the material, as well as a slow-burning “hobby fuse.”

Authorities said that Mr Muffley was paged over the airport’s public address system and was then seen leaving the airport. The FBI arrested him on Monday night at an address in Lansford, Pennsylvania, says Fox9.

Mark Muffley

He faces charges of possession of an explosive at an airport and possessing/attempting to place an explosive on an aircraft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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