Explosives at airport: No bail for Pennsylvania man
A Pennsylvania man admitted to checking a commercial flight to Florida with explosives, a fuse and a lighter in his suitcase and fleeing Lehigh Valley Airport for fear of arrest, federal officials filed Thursday in court. stated in the document.
Mark Muffley, 40, of Lansford, called his girlfriend when he heard his name called at the airport and quickly switched phone numbers to avoid being tracked, prosecutors said.
“The danger he created … is simply amazing,” U.S. Assistant Attorney Shelley A. Stephens said at a court hearing on Thursday when he asked a judge to deny him bail. “The fact that the TSA[Transportation Security Administration]were able to find this device so quickly and prevent it from being put on the plane is to their credit.”
Defense attorneys suggested that Muffley only wanted to set off fireworks on a beach in Florida, and said that Muffley, a former construction worker, sometimes cares for her sick grandfather.
However, U.S. Justice of the Peace Pamela A. Carlos decided that Muffley was both a flight hazard and a danger to the community, and agreed to detain him without bail.
Authorities said the explosive powder was packed in the same checked baggage as other items, increasing the risk of an explosion.
“The package also contained a can of butane, a lighter, a pipe with a residue of white powder suspected to be methamphetamine, a wireless drill with a cordless battery, and two GFCI outlets secured with black tape.” prosecutors wrote in a detention memo filed Thursday.
“His actions seriously endangered the lives of airport employees and patrons, and if the explosives had not been intercepted, the passengers and aircraft on the flight would have been at risk.
According to the criminal complaint, Muffley is charged with possessing explosives at an airport and attempting to possess or install explosives or pyrotechnic devices on aircraft.
Defense attorney Jonathan McDonald argued that the items were not “incendiary” and therefore did not meet the requirements for a second indictment. did not open
“No one has put forward any possible theories as to how this could have exploded,” McDonald said.
However, Carlos found possible reasons to support both accusations.
Murray was arrested at his home Monday night hours after he checked in for an Allegiant Airlines flight at Lehigh Valley International Airport. The flight was for Orlando.
His record includes misdemeanor arrests for drug possession, theft, and DUI, which led to several detentions, the memo said. His girlfriend told authorities she feared being arrested at the airport for unpaid child support warrants.
They say they found a three-inch “circular compound” wrapped in paper and plastic wrap. It is believed to contain a mixture of flash powder and other materials used to make commercial grade fireworks.
A “quick fuse” resembling a candle wick was attached, but this was apparently part of the original production of the compound, and the slow-burning “hobby fuse” was probably added later.
According to the criminal complaint, officials believe the material can be ignited by heat and friction, posing a serious danger to the plane and its crew.