Officials confirmed Monday that a crew member on board Piedmont Airlines flight 4126, originating from Baltimore Washington International Airport, was cleaning the plane after it landed in New York around 7:30 p.m. when he found a large firecracker-like device wedged between two seats. Port Authority officials contacted FBI agents, and the passenger from that seat location, identified as 67-year-old Thomas Ouelette, of Bonita Springs, Fla., was tracked down and taken into custody.
Ouelette was planning on taking a connecting flight to Fort Myers, Fla. from New York.
Authorities did not release details on the kind of device discovered other than saying it was a 4-inch-long, three-quarter-inch-wide explosive pyrotechnic.
Federal officials said they did not believe terrorism was involved, but that Ouelette already had two outstanding warrants in Florida for “unlawful flight.”
There is no word yet as to whether Ouelette was charged with a crime, however he was issued a summons by the FBI.
Piedmont is a subsidiary of US Airways.
The latest incident comes on the heels of the alleged Christmas day attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane headed for Detroit from Amsterdam.
The federal court in Detroit says a hearing scheduled for Monday has been delayed until Jan. 8. No reason was given.
Prosecutors want a DNA sample from Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He’s charged with attempting to destroy Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as it approached Detroit on Friday. Courageous passengers pounced on him.
Meanwhile, CBS News has learned the State Department system designed to keep track of active U.S. visas twice failed to reveal Abdulmutallab had been issued an active visa allowing him multiple entries into the United States.
According to a law enforcement source, the first failure came on Nov. 19, 2009, the very same day Abdulmutallab father’s, Dr. Umaru Mutallab, a prominent banking official in Nigeria, expressed deep concern to officials at the U.S. Embassy in Abjua, Nigeria, that his 23-year-old son had fallen under the influence of “religious extremists” in Yemen.
The second failure to flag an active visa belonging to Abdulmuttalab occurred the very next day in Washington, after Mutallab’s concerns were forwarded to officials there. It was only after the Christmas Day terror attack in Detroit that U.S. officials learned that Abdulmuttalab had been issued a visa by the U.S. Embassy in London valid from June 16, 2008, through June 12, 2010.