Federal authorities said in court Thursday that a Pennsylvania man knew he had a banned explosive in a suitcase he checked at an airport this week.
Marc Muffley, 40, is facing federal charges after officials found an explosive Monday at Lehigh Valley International Airport, authorities said. He was arrested Monday night at his Lansford home hours after the incident, the FBI said.
Muffley appeared in court Thursday afternoon via video from the Lehigh County Jail, wearing a navy blue inmate uniform.
The hearing began with US Attorney Sherri Stephan reading out the charges: possession of an explosive and attempt to plant it on an airplane.
FBI Special Agent Eddie Garcia, the arresting officer and the person who interviewed Muffley, told Stephan he was called to the airport Monday and arrived with his partner and two bomb technicians, who arrested Muffley after finding a explosive.
Garcia said Muffley «was aware of the explosives, the lithium battery and the butane lighter in her bag, and knew they were prohibited except for the lighter,» adding: «I knew it was in her bag and it was not allowed.» ”.
Muffley’s attorney, Jonathan McDonald, asked Garcia if what was found was a manufactured firework, to which Garcia replied, «Maybe.» Garcia said he recorded the interview and that he used the word «explosive,» not Muffley.
Stephan went on to say that Muffley had created a very dangerous situation when he checked «very curious things», including an explosive device that the technicians said had two fuses on it. Muffley checked the suitcase with the intention of placing it on the plane to Orlando, Florida, authorities said.
McDonald said there was no lab report and maintained it was just an opinion that the device was an explosive, saying it was instead «just a firework in a bag».
McDonald’s said the commercial-grade fireworks were not an explosive like dynamite, a bomb or a Molotov cocktail and did not meet the definition of an explosive.
Prosecutors argued that Muffley was a flight risk and a danger to the community because he had prior arrests and convictions and fled the airport to a nearby park and called his girlfriend, who had just dumped him, to come pick him up.
Court documents in Pennsylvania show that he has a history of relatively minor crimes, including robbery and assault.
McDonald asked for pretrial release, saying Muffley was not a flight risk and had ties to the community and could wear an ankle bracelet.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela Carlos sided with the prosecution, ordering Muffley to be detained and detained by U.S. Marshals until proceedings continued.
In a criminal complaint, prosecutors said the Transportation Security Administration at the airport contacted the FBI Monday after TSA officials believed they had found an explosive in a suitcase Muffley checked on a bound flight. to Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida.
The complaint says authorities found a «circular composite, approximately three inches in diameter, wrapped in wax-like paper and clear plastic wrap concealed in the luggage lining, among other items.»
A pump technician inspected the circular enclosure and found that it contained «a type of granular powder concealed within the waxed paper and plastic wrap,» according to the complaint.
The complaint said that based on the technician’s training, «this type of granular dust is consistent with a commercial grade firework,» adding: «This granular dust is suspected to be a mixture of lightning dust and the dark granules that are used in commercial grade fireworks.» Fireworks.»
There were two fuses in the complex, according to the FBI affidavit. One was a «fast fuse» and appeared to have been in it when it was initially manufactured, and the other was a «hobby fuse» that appeared to have been added later, according to the affidavit.
Also in the bag were a canister of butane, a lighter, a pipe with white powder residue, a cordless drill and two electrical outlets taped together, he said.
Federal authorities said in the complaint that «both black powder and gunpowder are susceptible to ignition from heat and friction and pose a significant risk to aircraft and passengers.»