Federal agents arrested a Pennsylvania man this week after he allegedly tried to bring explosives in his suitcase on a flight from Lehigh Valley International Airport to Florida.
According to court documents, an alarm alerted that the baggage belonging to Marc Muffley contained explosives. Transportation Security Administration agents paged Muffley over the airport intercom system and asked him to report to the airport’s security desk, prosecutors said, but he did not show up.
Soon after, security cameras allegedly caught Muffley leaving the airport. He had checked his luggage on Flight 201 bound for Orlando Sanford International Airport, according to court documents.
The FBI contacted the Carbon County chief of detectives who said he knew Muffley personally, according to court documents, and confirmed that Muffley’s address matched the one on his driver’s license.
“The FBI arrested Marc Muffley, 40, without incident at his Lansford, Pa., residence late Monday night,” an FBI spokesperson said in a statement to CNN.
Muffley remains in custody and will make his first court appearance on Thursday, the FBI spokesperson said.
CNN has reached out to Allegiant Air and the Lehigh Valley International Airport for comment.
According to the complaint, an alarm alerted Muffley’s baggage to TSA agents as it was being screened. Agents inspected baggage and 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,” court documents stated.
A safety bomb technician X-rayed the bag, investigators said, and found that it contained a powder concealed in the plastic wrap consistent with “commercial-grade fireworks.” Investigators also said a fuse was attached to the circular compound.
“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,” the complaint stated.
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.”
Bomb technicians determined the item “was indeed a live explosive device,” according to TSA.
“Transportation Security Officers are highly trained and highly skilled professionals at the front line of aviation security and catches such as this illustrate the point,” TSA said in its statement.
The airport was closed for more than two hours after the incident, according to Colin Riccobon, public relations director of the airport. Numerous agencies responded, including two bomb squads, and it demonstrated “tremendous teamwork,” Riccobon said.
Checked baggage at the Lehigh Valley airport is handed by passengers to airline personnel at the check in counter. The baggage is then transferred to a TSA agent for screening.
TSA agents screen about 800-1,600 passengers a day at the airport, the agency told CNN.
This story has been updated with additional developments.