Palm Springs
62° F
Clear
Clear

Former TSA screener arrested for suspected LAX threats

Published On: Sep 11 2013 01:02:56 PM CDT
LAX Los Angeles International Airport

File photo

RIVERSIDE (CNS) -

A former Transportation Security Administration screener suspected of making threats to terminals at Los Angeles International Airport was in custody today following his arrest in Riverside, authorities said.

Nna Alpha Onuoha, 29, of Inglewood was arrested just before midnight Tuesday by members of the Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force with assistance from the Riverside Police Department, said Los Angeles-based FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

It was not immediately clear why the man went to Riverside. Officers arrested Onuoha in van that was parked in the parking lot of the Harvest Church, at Adams Street and Arlington Avenue, said Riverside police Lt. Guy Toussaint. The parking lot is near Riverside Airport. A bomb squad searched the van and the parking lot, and the area was determined to be safe, Toussaint said.

Onuoha Tuesday resigned from the TSA, which had employed him since 2006, Eimiller said, adding without elaboration that he had recently been suspended from his job.

After he resigned, Onuoha allegedly left a package at the TSA's LAX headquarters addressed to an agency employee, Eimiller said in a statement issued early this morning.

A Los Angeles Police Department bomb squad determined the package was harmless, but it did contain an eight-page letter in which Onuoha wrote about the incident that led to his suspension and expressed ``his disdain for the United States,'' she said.

``Later in the day, a male believed to be Onuoha telephonically contacted the TSA, instructing an employee to `begin evacuating certain terminals at the airport,''' Eimiller said. ``The caller told the employee that he would `be watching' to see if TSA was evacuating the terminals as he instructed.''

Another call was received by the TSA, again believed to have been from Onuoha, saying that specific LAX terminals should be evacuated, she said.

``The terminals in question were cleared by law enforcement personnel and no threat to the airport was found,'' Eimiller said.

Members of the JTTF then went to Onuoha's apartment, which they found empty except for a note taped inside a closet ``containing an unspecified threat citing the 9/11/13 anniversary,'' she said.

Onuoha was later arrested and was being held on suspicion of making threats, pending further investigation, Eimiller said.