- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 11, 2017

An air traffic controller was arrested Friday and charged with possessing a weapon of mass destruction after authorities said they found a pipe bomb at his home in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Paul Dandan, an air traffic controller at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, was one of two men arrested Friday in connection with an explosive device discovered in their home last week, according to law enforcement.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department received a 911 call on November 3 from a person reporting a homemade explosive, law enforcement said Friday.

Responding officers subsequently found a pipe bomb in a residence shared by Mr. Dandan, 30, and his roommate, Derrick Fells, roughly 7 miles north of the Charlotte airport, the local NBC affiliate reported Friday.

Police said Mr. Fells, 39, admitted making the bomb so that he could “use it against a neighbor,” but he changed his mind and gave it to Mr. Dandan instead, according to the report.

Mr. Dandan “only had access to the offsite Air Traffic Control Tower and had no access to the restricted areas of the terminal or ramp,” a spokesperson for the airport said in a statement after authorities announced the arrests. “He did not have access to any aircraft at the airport.”

The Federal Aviation Administration has terminated Mr. Dandan’s access to the airport and is cooperating with investigators, the FAA said in its own statement.

Mr. Fells was charged with three counts of manufacturing a weapon of mass destruction and one count of possession of a weapon of mass destruction, and Mr. Dandan was charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction, acquiring a weapon of mass destruction and transporting a weapon of mass destruction.

Both men were released from state custody early Saturday morning after posting bond, according to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office website.

The FBI said it’s assisting authorities in Charlotte but doesn’t anticipate bringing federal charges against either suspect, WCNC reported.

Weapons of mass destruction are described by the FBI as any device “designed or intend to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors.”

State law defines WMDs as any explosive similar to a bomb, grenade, missile, mine or rocket.

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