LOS ANGELES — A 71-year-old man was being interrogated by Montreal police on Monday after attempting to board a Los Angeles-bound flight with components in his carry-on luggage that could be assembled to make a bomb, Canadian media reported.
Montreal police said all that was missing from the suspicious contents was an explosive compound, which prompted them to order a fresh search of the other Los Angeles-bound passengers to determine if an accomplice was carrying the last key element, Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper reported.
The discovery at 5:45 a.m. EDT Sunday during routine screening of the man’s hand luggage at Pierre Trudeau International Airport also spurred police to cordon off the detained man’s duplex in a western Montreal suburb on Sunday night. About 20 residents of the La Salle suburb were evacuated during the search, which turned up some documents but “nothing obvious,” police said, according to the Toronto Star.
Authorities also deployed a SWAT team and an explosives-detecting robot to the U.S. departure area of the airport, Canadian media reported. At least 16 U.S.-bound flights were delayed several hours by the extended security sweep at the airport.
CBC News reported from the airport that the suspect taken into custody, who has not been identified, is someone “known to police.”
Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreniere declined to disclose details about the items in the man’s suitcase but said everything necessary to make a bomb except for an explosive compound was in his possession, the Globe and Mail reported.
“It was concealed. Once you put it together, it could be used to make a bomb,” the newspaper quoted Lafreniere as saying. “We’re not crazy. If you have an alarm clock in your luggage, we assume that’s normal. But if you hide it in your bag and, I can’t tell you all he had, but no one would travel that way.”
Another police spokesman, Jean-Pierre Brabant, told the Associated Press that the suspect would likely be arraigned later Monday on charges in connection with the attempt to board the flight with prohibited materials.
The AP reported that the man had a ticket for a flight to Los Angeles but did not indicate on which airline.