Army Man In Airport Bomb Scare Released

January 9, 2012

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An Army demolitions expert who was arrested on New Year's Eve for trying to carry explosives onto a commercial plane in Texas was ordered released on a USD$50,000 unsecured bond.

Green Beret Sergeant First Class Trey Scott Atwater was arrested at Midland Airport, Texas after security screeners found 2.5 pounds (1.1kg) of C-4 explosive in baggage he was carrying for a return flight to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Magistrate Judge David Counts released Atwater, 30, into the custody of two members of the US Army who were to escort him back to North Carolina.

Atwater had been held in federal custody without bond since his arrest six days ago. He faces one count of attempting to board an aircraft while in possession of explosives, a felony which carries a penalty of up to ten years in prison.

Atwater told the FBI he was unaware the explosives were in his bag, which he grabbed from his North Carolina home when he prepared to fly home to Texas for the Christmas holidays. Airport screeners apparently failed to detect the C-4 on the outbound flight.

Prosecutors said Atwater did not pose a flight risk, and his military escorts agreed to report any bond violations.

"The government has uncovered no information that would suggest that Atwater intended harm to any aircraft, or to the flying public," Assistant US Attorney John Klassen said in a brief court hearing. "The government believes that with close supervision by the court and by the United States Army, Sergeant Atwater will not pose a danger."

Atwater is a member of the Army Special Forces Engineers and a munitions expert.

(Reuters)