This airport surveillance camera image released in an FBI affidavit shows alleged suspect Marc Muffley at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allenstown, Pa. on Monday, Feb. 27, 2023. Muffley was arrested Monday after an explosive was found in a bag checked onto a Florida-bound flight, federal authorities said. (FBI via AP)
OAN Deven Berryhill
UPDATED 6:26 PM PT – Wednesday, March 1, 2023
TSA has discovered an explosive device in a checked baggage at Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley International Airport. Mark Muffley is being 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.
The 40-year-old was scheduled to take an Allegiant Airlines flight from eastern Pennsylvania to Florida’s Orlando Sanford International Airport on Monday. According to the U.S. District Court warrant, TSA had screened Muffley’s baggage at around 11:40 a.m.. An alarm indicating that the bag had contained suspicious items was set off on its way to the plane.
The warrant detailed the contents of the explosives as “a circular compound, about 3 inches in diameter, that had two fuses and powder concealed in wax paper and plastic wrap.”
BREAKING: The FBI says this man packed an explosive device in his checked suitcase on a flight from Pennsylvania to Florida. TSA found it during screening. The device had multiple fuses, explosive powder, batteries, and power outlets. It was concealed in the lining of the bag. pic.twitter.com/VIr2BJKDTB
— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) March 1, 2023
Sources have reported that the immediate area of the airport was evacuated. TSA officials notified the Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority Police Department. The FBI, who was contacted by TSA, showed up on the scene with multiple FBI agents, including a bomb technician.
The “powder is suspected to be a mixture of flash powder and the dark granulars that are used in commercial grade fireworks,” the warrant said. “The black powder and flash powder are susceptible to ignite from heat and friction and posed a significant risk to the aircraft and passengers.”
The FBI determined that the item “was indeed a live explosive device.”
TSA officials said that they paged Muffley over the airport’s public announcement system to come to the security desk. However, they received no response. Security cameras showed Muffley leaving the airport, soon after checking the bags in. He was placed in FBI custody after being found in his home.
He remains in custody and is due in court on Thursday afternoon.