As if we needed another reason to fear air travel, authorities in North Carolina say an air traffic controller at an airport in the state has been arrested on charges of possessing a weapon of mass destruction.
Local media outlets report that the FBI says 30-year-old Paul George Dandan was arrested Friday in Charlotte. The FBI is assisting Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police with the investigation but, somehow, federal charges aren’t expected against Dandan at this point.
CNN reported that police received a 911 call last week that someone had a homemade explosive at a Charlotte home. When officers arrived, they found a homemade pipe bomb, authorities said. Though authorities didn’t confirm if this was the weapon. A WMD is legally defined as any explosive charge larger than four ounces, and in many cases aren’t all that deadly.
Investigators said another man, 39-year-old Derrick Fells, built the bomb to "use it against a neighbor with whom he was involved in an ongoing dispute." But Fells changed his mind and gave Dandan the device, police said. Both men were arrested in connection with the weapon on Friday. Fells was charged with three counts of manufacturing a weapon of mass destruction and one count of possession of a weapon of mass destruction, police said.
Police have not officially declared a motive - and at this point, Danden’s story about his friend having a dispute with a neighbor could merely be a ruse. Fortunately, the Federal Aviation Administration said Dandan's access to the airport "was terminated."
In a statement, the Charlotte Douglas International Airport said Dandan did not have access to any aircraft.
"The FAA employee only had access to the "offsite air traffic control tower and had no access to the restricted areas of the terminal or ramp," the statement said.
The Mecklenberg County Sheriff’s Office website shows Dandan was being held at the county jail Friday night on $45,000 bond.