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Bragg soldier stopped twice for ordnance in luggage

Posted January 3, 2012

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— A Fort Bragg soldier charged with having explosives in his carry-on luggage at a Texas airport was stopped earlier at Fayetteville Regional Airport when security screeners found a military grenade in his bag, according to the FBI.

Trey Scott Atwater, 30, was stopped at security at the Midland International Airport in Texas on Saturday after a Transportation Security Administration officer spotted a suspicious item in a carry-on bag during X-ray screening.

According to an FBI affidavit in the case, the material was C-4 plastic explosive. Officers found no detonator, meaning there was no way to ignite the explosive.

Atwater flew out of Fayetteville on Christmas Eve, and security there detained him after finding a military smoke grenade in the bag, the FBI affidavit states. TSA agents in Fayetteville didn't see any C-4 in the bag at the time, according to the affidavit, and they allowed Atwater to continue on the flight to Midland after confiscating the grenade and admonishing him.

Despite that incident, Atwater told FBI agents that he didn't know the explosives were in the bag, which he said he brought home from Afghanistan last April, according to the affidavit.

An instructor at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg, Atwater said his 7th Special Forces Group team routinely carried at least two blocks of C-4 on any operation, the affidavit states. Since he was a demolitions expert, he often carried more, he told investigators.

Yet, he said, he hadn't used the bag since returning from deployment and only grabbed it from the garage of his Hope Mills home to carry children's items on a family trip to Texas over the holidays, the affidavit states. He expressed surprise that the C-4 was found inside.

Atwater was being held at the Midland County jail on a charge of trying to bring explosives onto an airplane.

Army officials say he is likely to face military discipline, in addition to the federal charge.

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  • respect Jan 4, 2012

    P.S. my comments were made with all due respect for our enlisted men and women. Hats off the our military and their families for their invaluable contributions to our country.
    Let's take care of our soldiers and their families when deploy and when they come home,with medical,surgical, psychological and family problems.

  • respect Jan 4, 2012

    Careless behavior of this type warrants investigation, even if he does not look like "Brody".
    Of course the scary part is that RDU TSA did not pat him down like I get patted down, for my watch or underwire bra that triggers an ALARM......
    Alarming.

  • lizard78 Jan 4, 2012

    He didn't go through RDU.

  • warbirdlover Jan 4, 2012

    I can't believe how many people haven't the foggest idea about C-4. It's not only the military that uses it. Years ago I worked for a wrecking company. We had lot's and lot's of C-4, dynamite, gelnite and some other stuff I don't even know the name of it. I wasn't a explosives man, just a mechanic, but the explosive guys would go to lunch with this stuff in their pockets, burn the C-4 to heat up coffe and food. They told me it's perfectly safe, as long as you don't have detnators close by. I also had blasting caps in my tool box for cleaning out stuborn rusted up grease fittings. Explosives are not that hard to obtain. wonder how many old farms have old dynamite from 1965 sitting under some rubbish in barns.

  • corey3rd Jan 4, 2012

    The nice thought is that RDU's security couldn't spot the C-4. Our airport security let a major explosive slip through their fingers. When are the heads going to roll? Where are the public outrage that we have to get scanned and probed while they're utterly useless to keep us safe. How much shampoo has been lost while this guy got plastic explosives through the scanner? The detonator can easily be disguised as an iPod. There could have been a slaughter in the sky thanks to RDU's Barney Fife division of TSA.

  • not my real name Jan 4, 2012

    he's totally up to no good. i'm not buying this "i forgot" excuse. the ones that fly under the radar are the ones that are the craziest.

  • beachbum1 Jan 4, 2012

    haggis basher..."Since he's a good ole Baptist-looking Texas white boy we're willing to give him the benefit of the doubt."

    They scare me the most :)

    ...TOTALLY AGREE!!!!!

  • oldrebel Jan 4, 2012

    "Oop's...I totally forgot I had high explosives in that bag. Silly me."

  • KermitDFrog Jan 4, 2012

    Does all that TSA molestation/pat-down or ionizing-radition scanning make anyone feel safer now?

  • haggis basher Jan 4, 2012

    "Since he's a good ole Baptist-looking Texas white boy we're willing to give him the benefit of the doubt."

    They scare me the most :)

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