Officials reported that a man from Pennsylvania was taken into custody and is facing federal charges following the discovery of an explosive device in a suitcase intended for loading onto a plane at an airport on Monday.
According to the FBI, Marc Muffley, a 40-year-old resident of Lansford, was apprehended on Monday night at his residence, after the incident that occurred earlier that day at the Lehigh Valley International Airport.
The FBI alleges that Muffley checked in a rolling suitcase at the Allegiant Air counter on Monday morning.
The Transportation Security Administration discovered a live explosive device inside the suitcase. The FBI, in its court documents, revealed that the device was a circular compound enveloped in wax paper and plastic wrap, concealed in the suitcase lining. It contained a powder suspected to be a combination of flash powder and granules used in commercial-grade fireworks.
Additionally, two fuses were attached to the compound, as stated in the FBI affidavit attached to the criminal complaint.
The FBI affidavit and criminal complaint fail to clarify why the explosives were present in the suitcase.
As per the FBI affidavit, Muffley can be seen on security cameras being dropped off at the airport at approximately 10:45 a.m. On discovering the material in the suitcase at 11:40 a.m., the airport paged Muffley, directing him to go to the security desk, FBI Special Agent Eddie Garcia noted in the affidavit. According to the document, Muffley was seen leaving the airport at 11:45 a.m.
Muffley was in custody as of Wednesday, and a probable cause and detention hearing was scheduled for Thursday, according to the FBI.
It is unclear whether Muffley has an attorney to represent him. Phone numbers associated with him in public records were not operational on Wednesday evening. Court records in Pennsylvania reveal that he has a history of minor offenses, including theft and assault.
Charges of possessing an explosive in an airport, and attempting to place or have placed an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft have been listed in a criminal complaint.
According to a statement by the TSA, the device was discovered during standard screening of checked luggage. The suitcase set off an alarm, and an officer conducted a physical examination, leading to the discovery of the object. The area was cleared immediately, and the FBI was contacted.
The FBI affidavit reveals that the compound had two fuses attached to it: a “quick fuse,” which seemed to have been present at the time of manufacturing, and a “hobby fuse,” which appeared to have been added later.
According to the FBI affidavit, the suitcase also contained a can of butane, a lighter, a pipe with white powder residue, a wireless drill, and two electrical outlets that were taped together.
A spokesperson for Allegiant refused to provide any comment, citing an ongoing investigation.
Lehigh Valley International Airport is located near Allentown, which is about 50 miles north of Philadelphia. Lansford, a town of about 4,100 people, is just over 25 miles northwest of the airport.