Investigators say a soldier accused of bringing explosives into an airport in his carry-on bag may have flown halfway across the country with them the week before.
A U.S. attorney's spokesman says Trey Scott Atwater of Hope Mills, N.C., waived his initial appearance in federal court in Midland, Texas, today. According to court documents, the 30-year-old soldier was arrested after he was stopped Saturday at a security checkpoint at Midland International Airport with the powerful explosive C-4.
The Fort Bragg-based soldier has been charged with trying to bring explosives onto an airplane, which carries a maximum 10-year federal prison sentence.
According to court documents, Atwater was detained at the Fayetteville, N.C., airport on Christmas Eve when security agents found a military smoke grenade in his carry-on bag. The documents say officials "admonished" Atwater after confiscating the grenade, then allowed him to continue on to Texas.
He was stopped at the Midland airport Saturday as he and his family headed home. A TSA agent spotted a suspicious item in Atwater's carry-on bag during screening, and a police bomb squad identified that as C-4.
The FBI didn't find out about the grenade incident until being informed by the TSA after Atwater's arrest in Midland. The court documents don't say if officials now suspect C-4 to have been in his bag when he was stopped in North Carolina but was missed during additional screening.