A male PAX was detained at MIA

A male PAX was detained at MIA on Thursday 8/02/10 because of a suspicious item in his luggage.

At about 9:30 p.m., TSA Officers spotted the canister in PAX luggage.

The canister in question resembled a pipe bomb. It was a 12-inch metal canister with black screw tops at both ends.

The police bomb squad was called and removed the item. No explosives were found. The police detained the PAX who was travelling with the suspicious item.

The item was taken for testing. Passengers were evacuated and most of the airport was shut down. Tests on the canister found nothing dangerous and PAX was released on Friday morning.

The bag with suspicious item belonged to Thomas Butler, an American citizen on a teaching assignment in Saudi Arabia.

Who is Thomas Butler?

Butler has prior arrest record related to bio-medical material. In 2002 Butler smuggled the human plague bacteria into the United States.

In 2003 Butler was accused of lying to the FBI about bubonic plague samples he reported missing from his lab in Texas. FBI searched thoroughly his lab and his home.

After finding no evidence of a break-in, the FBI concluded there had been no theft. FBI questioned and gave Butler a polygraph test.

Butler showed "red flags" that indicated he was deceiving about the whereabouts of the missing vials during the polygraph test.

Results from the polygraph test led FBI to believe Butler was lying. It was later discovered that Butler used FedEx  to send plague samples to Tanzania.

Butler was sentenced in March 2004 to two years in prison, and was released in late 2005.

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