A 40-year old man is facing federal criminal charges after luggage that he checked in for a flight bound for Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) in Florida was found to contain explosive material, hidden in the bag lining.
Marc Muffley, a Pennsylvania native, checked in for Allegiant Air Flight 201 at Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) on February 27, 2023.
During the mandatory security screening for checked-in bags, an alert was sounded and the bag was inspected. It was there that airport security found a “circular compound” about three inches in diameter encased in wax-like paper and clear plastic wrap, hidden in the bag’s lining.
The compound was X-rayed by an FBI bomb technician, who concluded that it contained a granular powder consistent with a “commercial grade firework” and “suspected to be a mixture of flash powder and the dark granules that are used in commercial grade fireworks.”
Authorities said that attached to the compound was a “quick fuse” similar to a candle wick, as well as a “hobby fuse” that burns more slowly and appeared to have been manually added after it was manufactured.
The criminal complaint alleges that both the black powder and flash powder “are susceptible to ignite from heat and friction and posed a significant risk to the aircraft and passengers.”
Also found in the baggage were a can of butane, a lighter, a pipe with white powder residue, a wireless drill with cordless batteries, and two GFCI outlets taped together with black tape.
After the explosive discovery, Muffley was then paged over the airport’s PA system, and was seen fleeing the airport shortly thereafter. He was then traced to a Lansford, Pennsylvania address, where he was arrested by the FBI on the evening of February 27, 2023.
Muffley is charged with possessing an explosive in an airport and possessing or attempting to place an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft. A court hearing was scheduled for March 2, 2023.