Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Serviceman held for carrying explosives into Texas airport

HOUSTON — A man preparing to board a flight at the airport in Midland, Texas, on Saturday morning was detained by the authorities after explosives in military-grade wrapping were discovered in his luggage, leading to an evacuation of the terminal building, law enforcement and military officials said.

Officials declined to release the man's identity but said he was an active-duty member of the U.S. military.

The explosives were discovered shortly before 9:30 a.m. at a security checkpoint inside the Midland International Airport's only terminal building.

Officers with the Transportation Security Administration detected a suspicious item in the man's carry-on bag during X-ray screening, officials said.

The terminal was evacuated while the explosives were removed from the checkpoint area, officials said, and the building was swept for additional explosives.

None were found, so the terminal was reopened and the airport resumed normal operations roughly one hour later, said Tasa Watts, a municipal spokeswoman for Midland, a city of 111,000 in West Texas known for being the hometown of Laura Bush and the childhood home of her husband, former President George W. Bush.

Officials declined to discuss the soldier's possible reasons for carrying the explosives, citing the continuing investigation.

A spokesman for the El Paso office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said agents had detained the man, but could not provide any other details.

The Associated Press reported that it was told by an American Airlines spokesman that the man had a reservation on Flight 3283 from Midland to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The departure time for the American Eagle plane was 9:45 a.m.

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