Explosives Allegedly Found in Passenger's Checked Luggage at Penn. Airport, Suspect in Custody

A suitcase carrying an explosive was found in checked luggage during a routine screening at a Pennsylvania airport

A man is in FBI custody after explosives were allegedly found in luggage that he had checked at an airport in Pennsylvania.

On Monday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) stopped an "explosive device" from being put on a flight at Lehigh Valley International Airport, the agency said in a release on Wednesday.

During a routine screening for checked baggage, the suitcase "triggered an alarm," and a TSA agent checked to see what was inside. "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," the agency said.

That section of the airport was evacuated and the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority Police and the FBI were told about the incident. Both federal and local authorities confirmed it was an explosive device.

The suspect is now in FBI custody.

"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 in the release. "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."

mark muffley https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/pennsylvania-man-accused-of-trying-to-place-explosive-on-airplane/3511910/ hed: Authorities Find Explosives in Passenger's Luggage That Was Checked at Pennsylvania Airport, Suspect in Custody

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In a criminal complaint filed by FBI Special Agent Eddie Garcia and seen by PEOPLE, the suspect is identified as Mark Muffley. He is charged with possession of an explosive in an airport and possessing, or attempting to place, or attempting to have placed, an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft.

Garcia said in the filing that another special agent, Jared Witmier, found the explosive, described as a "circular compound" in the lining of the suitcase. It "contained a granular type of powder concealed within the wax paper and plastic wrap," which is often found in commercial-grade fireworks.

The explosive was connected to a "quick fuse" and "hobby fuse," Witmier determined, likening the fuse to a candle wick.

"A quick fuse is designed to ignite explosives quickly," the complaint noted, adding that a hobby fuse "is known to be a regular fuse that burns slower than a quick fuse."

The black powder and flash powder were dangerous for airline passengers as they're "susceptible to ignite from heat and friction."

A can of butane, a lighter, a pipe with white powder residue, a wireless drill with cordless batteries, and two GFCI outlets that were held together with black tape were also found in the luggage, according to the complaint.

Earlier that morning around 11:40 a.m., Muffley was seen getting out of a white Chevrolet Equinox as he arrived at the airport. The driver and Muffley live at the same home in Lansford, Pennsylvania. When authorities found the explosive in his baggage, Muffley was paged and asked to come to the security desk. Five minutes later he was seen on surveillance cameras leaving the airport.

The FBI reached out to Carbon County Chief of Detectives Jack Soberick, who used to be the Chief of Police at the Lansford Police Department. He said that he knew Muffley personally and confirmed his address. Garcia asked a judge to grant him an arrest warrant so Muffley could be taken into custody.

Muffley was arrested in his home on Monday night, according to NBC's affiliate in Philadelphia. He is still in custody as of Wednesday night and is due in court on Thursday afternoon for probable cause and detention hearings.

It's unclear if Muffley has an attorney who can comment on his behalf.

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