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Saudi charged for firecrackers in luggage

He's accused of carrying them on plane, lying to customs


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(CNN) -- A Saudi man is facing federal felony charges after three small "firecracker-type" pyrotechnic devices were found during a search of his backpack after he arrived at Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts.

Essam Mohammed Almohandis, 33, of Riyadh, was arrested this weekend after arriving on a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt, Germany.

He was charged Monday with carrying incendiary or explosive devices on an aircraft and lying to agents who questioned him.

A bond hearing for Almohandis has been scheduled for Tuesday. The charges can carry up to 15 years in prison.

The firecrackers were about 1.5 inches long, yellow and cylindrical, according to an affidavit accompanying the charges against Almohandis.

While going through a customs check at Logan airport Saturday afternoon, Almohandis -- who was carrying a backpack but no other luggage -- told agents he was traveling alone to the United States on business, according to the affidavit.

He said he had traveled from Riyadh to Frankfurt, then changed to a Boston-bound flight.

Almohandis consented to a search of his backpack, and the devices were found, the affidavit said. When questioned about the devices, Almohandis first told agents they were artist's pens, then later said he did not know what they were and that his wife may have placed them in his backpack.

In a subsequent interview with agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Almohandis said he had never seen the devices before, did not know where the came from and had no idea who put them in his luggage, the affidavit said.


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