A 41-year-old man has been taken into custody by the FBI after an explosive device was allegedly found hidden within the lining of his check-in luggage on an Orlando-bound Allegiant flight from Lehigh Valley International Airport in Pennsylvania on Monday morning.
Mark Muffley faces potentially serious federal charges of attempting to place an explosive on an aircraft, as well as possession of an explosive at an airport after he was snatched into custody following the discovery by TSA officers.
In an affidavit, the FBI said the explosives could have “posed a significant risk to the aircraft and passengers.” The motive behind Muffley’s alleged crime has not yet been revealed.
Court documents claim TSA officers were carrying out routine x-ray screening of check-in luggage when an alarm alerted to a suspicious object in the bag that Muffley had checked at the Allegiant airline desk.
Hidden within the lining of luggage, amongst other items, was a circular compound, approximately three inches in diameter and wrapped in wax-like paper, that experts believe was an explosive device.
An FBI bomb technician was called to the scene, and following careful examination, it was determined that the compound contained a granular type of powder that was consistent with a commercial-grade firework.
There were two fuses attached to the compound – a quick fuse and a so-called ‘hobby fuse’, which is slower and appears to have been added at a later date.
Investigators also found a can of butane, a lighter, a pipe with white powder residue, a wireless drill with cordless batteries, and two electrical outlets inside Muffley’s luggage.
Officials paged Muffley over the airport’s public address system but five minutes later, security cameras picked Muffley up exiting the terminal. He was tracked down later the same day.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.