An air traffic controller in Charlotte, N.C., was arrested while on the job and charged with possessing materials to make a “weapon of mass destruction.”
According to The Charlotte Observer newspaper, 30-year-old Paul Dandan, the air traffic controller, and his friend, 39-year-old Derrick Fells, have been charged with several offenses related to making a homemade pipe bomb. Dandan, who has a previous criminal record, was on the job at Charlotte’s Douglas International Airport when he was arrested by local police.
WSOC-TV reported the bomb was not at the airport.
Dandan is charged with acquiring, possessing and transporting a weapon of mass destruction, while Fells is charged with making the bomb. Dandan, who had his access to the airport terminated following his arrest, remains in jail in lieu of $45,000 cash bond.
Fells reportedly told police he made the bomb because he intended to use it against a neighbor with whom he was feuding, but changed his mind and gave it to Dandan instead. It’s not clear when the air traffic controller intended to do with the explosive device.
Airport officials and the FAA were quick to point out Dandan only had access to the air traffic control facility, which is not on the airport grounds, and that at no time did he have access to aircraft or sensitive areas of the airport property. The bomb was discovered at a residential home located approximately four miles north of the airport following a 9-1-1 call to police.