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Dysart Willis

North Carolina air traffic controller arrested on WMD charge

A North Carolina air traffic controller garnered national news attention after his arrest on a criminal charge rarely filed: Acquisition, transportation and possession of a weapon of mass destruction.

Although the charge makes for an interesting headline, the details in the arrest make the case a little less riveting. The Federal Bureau of Investigation said that the 30-year-old Charlotte man was arrested after his roommate built a pipe bomb and then gave it to him.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said the air traffic controller had access to a control tower. However, after his arrest the Federal Aviation Administration fired him and said his access to Charlotte Douglas International Airport had been revoked.

Airport officials said the man only had access to an offsite air traffic control tower and not to any aircraft or "restricted areas of the terminal or ramp."

The roommate faces three criminal charges: manufacturing a weapon of mass destruction and one count of possession of a weapon of mass destruction.

The CMPD said the device is a homemade pipe bomb. The FBI said that there are no federal charges pending against either of the men.

WCNC reported that the roommate originally constructed the bomb to use in a dispute with a neighbor. After he changed his mind, he gave the explosive device to the air traffic controller.

No media outlet shared information from authorities on what the man planned to do with the device, if anything.

For those facing federal charges, the future can appear bleak and uncertain. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand your legal options and help protect your rights and freedom.