Passenger Checked Bag With Explosive at Pennsylvania Airport, F.B.I. Says

A 40-year-old man was arrested this week on federal charges after he checked a suitcase containing an explosive for a flight to Florida at a Pennsylvania airport, the F.B.I. said.

The suitcase checked by Marc Muffley, of Lansford, Pa., at an Allegient Air counter at Lehigh Valley International Airport for a flight to Orlando, Fla. on Monday was flagged by an alarm during a Transportation Security Administration screening, Eddie Garcia, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Officials with the Transportation Security Administration found a “circular compound” with fuses attached inside the suitcase, and an F.B.I. team determined that it was an explosive, the complaint said.

The F.B.I. said that Mr. Muffley, who was paged over the airport’s speaker system at about 11:40 a.m. on Monday after the T.S.A. screening, left the airport five minutes after being asked to report to the security desk, security camera footage shows. He was arrested late Monday night and charged with possession of an explosive in an airport and possessing or attempting to place an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft.

The immediate area of the airport was evacuated “out of an abundance of caution,” the T.S.A. said in a statement.

Rachel Christiansen, a spokeswomen for Allegiant Air, said the company could not comment on an active investigation.

Mr. Muffley remained in custody on Wednesday, pending a court hearing on Thursday, the F.B.I. said. A lawyer representing Mr. Muffley could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to the complaint, the explosive, which was about three inches in diameter, was made of commercial grade fireworks powder and flash powder, Special Agent Jared Witmier of the F.B.I., who is trained in explosive device identification, determined. It was wrapped in a waxlike paper and clear plastic wrap and was hidden in the lining of the baggage.

“Both the black powder and flash powder are susceptible to ignite from heat and friction and posed a significant threat to the aircraft and passengers,” the complaint said.

The explosive had a fuse that ignites quickly, along with a hobby fuse that appears to have been added after the device was built and that burns at a slower pace.

The suitcase also contained a can of butane, a lighter, a pipe with white powder residue, a wireless drill with cordless batteries and two electrical outlets taped together, the complaint said.

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