Man, 71, facing charges after bomb-making materials found at Montreal airport
Published Monday, October 28, 2013 9:33AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 28, 2013 8:43PM EDT
A 71-year-old Iranian-born man is facing three criminal charges after bomb-making elements were found inside a passenger's carry-on luggage at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport on Sunday.
Antony Piazza, whose name was legally changed from Houshang Nazemi, made a brief court appearance on Monday afternoon.
Piazza’s defence lawyer, Louis Morena, revealed the objects in the carry-on he’s accused of putting through security.
“They’re talking about bullets, they’re talking about powder, they’re talking about wire, they’re talking about briquette,” Morena told reporters.
Piazza is facing charges of being in possession of an explosive substance, conspiracy to transport an explosive substance on an airplane, and endangering the safety of an airport or aircraft.
The charges come after airport screening officers spotted a suspicious item in a passenger's carry-on luggage around 5:40 a.m. on Sunday.
Police shut down the security screening area at the airport’s U.S. departure zone for three hours and interviewed everyone on board the suspect’s U.S.-bound flight. Sixteen flights were delayed as a result.
Police said Monday that the carry-on bag contained "everything" needed to construct a bomb -- except the actual explosives.
“It was different materials…It’s the kind of device that when it’s put together, could be part of an explosive device,” Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere told CTV News.
While police say there was no actual explosive substance or immediate danger, crown prosecutor Alexandre Gauthier said there was a charge related to possession of explosive substances because “it’s an explosive substance in the sense of the criminal code.”
Piazza’s defence lawyer, Louis Morena, told reporters his client was holding the carry-on bag for someone else.
Police also searched a duplex and vehicle belonging to the suspect late Sunday, leading to the evacuation of surrounding homes. They said nothing of interest was found.
The maximum sentence for the charge of mischief is 10 years, but the crown says the investigation is ongoing and could lead to more serious charges.
Under his original name, Piazza received a 10-year sentence for drug-trafficking in the mid-1980s.
With files from CTV Montreal’s Cindy Sherwin and The Canadian Press