Feds: Flier tried to smuggle, build bomb

April 2, 2008 10:52:11 AM PDT
A Jamaican man accused of trying to bring pipe bomb-making materials onto an airplane told the FBI he wanted to show friends at home how to build explosives like he saw in Iraq, according to documents released Wednesday. The FBI was still trying to determine whether Kevin Brown was ever in Iraq. He did not speak at a brief court hearing where he was ordered held without bail while prosecutors reviewed his mental health records.

Brown, 32, was arrested Tuesday at Orlando International Airport after allegedly checking luggage for an Air Jamaica flight. Transportation Security Administration behavior experts spotted him acting suspiciously in the ticketing area and authorities found the unassembled bomb-making materials in his bag.

Clarence Counts, Brown's court-appointed public defender, declined to comment as he prepared for a formal bond hearing Thursday.

The FBI said TSA officials searched Brown's checked luggage before it was put on the plane. It had two glass bottles of nitromethane, a colorless liquid used as a fuel for drag racing, in manufacturing and as a cleaning solvent. The baggage also had galvanized pipes, end caps, two small containers containing BB's, batteries, a laptop, and instructions on how to make bombs, the FBI said in a court filing.

Brown is charged with one count of attempting to carry an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft. The FBI believed his most recent address was in Gainesville.

Passengers were briefly cleared out of the ticketing area where Brown checked in for a flight to Montego Bay in Jamaica. A bomb squad arrived, and Brown was searched on the sidewalk outside the Air Jamaica counter by investigators in protective suits.

Some Orlando International Airport flights were delayed up to two hours, spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell said.

Air Jamaica executive director Shirley Williams said the items could not have caused an explosion and the aircraft and its passengers were never at risk.

Jamaica's prime minister has ordered the Jamaica Constabulary Force to conduct is own investigation into Brown's activities in that country.

The FBI said it believed Brown was in the United States legally.