A Colorado-based Army private getting explosives training in Yuma was arrested yesterday after police say he tried to board a commercial airplane while carrying explosives.
U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Robbie Sherwood says Army Private First Class Christopher Eric Wey, 19, tried to board a United Airlines flight from Yuma to Los Angeles yesterday morning. In his backpack, TSA officials found a can of chewing tobacco with a ball of C4 explosives inside.
Sherwood tells New Times Wey didn't have much of the explosive substance, about a half-ounce, but it was "certainly enough to alert TSA."
Sherwood says Wey didn't have a detonator, so it doesn't appear that he planned to detonate the C4 on the plane.
According to a complaint filed in federal court, Wey was in Yuma to undergo explosives training. He was ultimately terminated from the program for not meeting the course requirements, but not before he had the chance to steal some explosives.
During one training exercise, trainees were allowed to handle C4 before it was detonated by the soldier teaching the course.
Following his arrest, Wey told authorities he noticed a small ball of the explosive substance on the ground. He picked it up, put it in his pocket, and took it back to his hotel room.
Wey told authorities he put the ball of C4 in the tobacco can and packed it in a backpack he later had with him when he tried to board the plane.
He told authorities "I was going to take it home to show my family and then dispose of it."
Bad move -- Wey now faces the possibility of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if he's convicted of the one count each of attempt to carry an explosive on an aircraft and transportation of a stolen explosive with which he's been charged.
Wey was released on his own recognizance today. He's due in court again August 2.