FBI: Man admitted to leaving 'IED' outside airport, was 'ready t - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

FBI: Man admitted to leaving 'IED' outside airport, was 'ready to fight a war on US soil'

Michael Christopher Estes (Source: Asheville PD) Michael Christopher Estes (Source: Asheville PD)
Public safety vehicles at Asheville Regional Airport (FOX Carolina/ Oct. 6, 2017) Public safety vehicles at Asheville Regional Airport (FOX Carolina/ Oct. 6, 2017)
Michael Christopher Estes (Source: Asheville PD) Michael Christopher Estes (Source: Asheville PD)
ASHEVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

The FBI has charged a suspect accused of leaving an explosive device outside the Asheville Regional Airport.

Michael Christopher Estes, 46, was detained on October 7 along Airport Road after federal authorities said a tipster recognized him.

Authorities told FOX Carolina that a suspicious device was found on a curb outside the airport's baggage claim area on the morning of October 6.

PHOTOS: FBI investigating after package 'made to resemble explosive' found at Asheville airport

Police later confirmed the package was, in fact, explosive and had been rendered safe by the bomb squad.

The airport was briefly evacuated, but the terminal reopened just before 9 a.m. on October 6.

The FBI released a statement about the incident later that morning. Agents collected evidence and reviewed surveillance video to try and identify suspects and a motive in the case.

Below is the full statement from FBI Public Information Officer Shelly Lynch:

The FBI responded to the Asheville Regional Airport on Friday, October 6, 2017, in reference to a suspicious device.  Working alongside the Asheville Regional Airport Police Department, the Asheville Police Department, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the item was rendered safe.  Passengers were evacuated for a short period of time out of an abundance of caution, before the airport returned to full operation.  The FBI and our law enforcement partners will collect evidence on the scene including surveillance video from the airport to identify the person or persons responsible for leaving the device and to determine motive.  The investigation is ongoing and additional details will be released when appropriate.    

On Tuesday, Estes appeared in federal court and the criminal complaint against him was read.

Per the complaint, Estes is charged with attempted malicious use of explosive material and unlawful possession of explosive material at the airport.

He reportedly told FBI agents he admitted to buying materials to make the device and leaving it at the airport because he was "ready to fight a war on US soil."

The FBI said airport workers found an an IED (improvised explosive device) near the baggage claim area. The device was described as a glass mason jar that contained ammonium nitrate, fuel oik, nails, steel wool, and a shotgun cartridge.

FBI agents said they found a backpack in the woods where Estes had been spotted near the airport that contained Matches, an alarm bell, and Gorilla tape.

Surveillance  video showed Estes buying Sterno, the jar, and the tape at a Walmart and purchasing gloves from a Lowe's, the FBI said.

Estes remains in custody and waived a preliminary hearing.

The Asheville Police Department, FBI, SBI and Asheville Regional Airport Police Department are working together on the investigation. 

Below is the full criminal complaint released Tuesday:

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