Gregory Thomas Salyer, Discharged Marine, Faces 8 Years for Drugs, Artillery in JWA Bags
See Update No. 3 on Page 2 with the charges and possible punishment for Gregory Thomas Salyer. Update No. 2 has the Marines identifying him as a recently discharged corporal and gunner. Update No. 1 has officials describing the allegedly stolen military artillery devices the sheriff's department says were in his luggage.
ORIGINAL POST, AUG. 27, 4:20 P.M.: A bag scanned at John Wayne Airport this afternoon raised fears there might be explosives inside, prompting evacuations, a grounded plane and delayed flights as authorities sorted things out.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department, whose bomb squad responded to the scene, announced the item was not a threat and normal airport operations resumed around 3:30 p.m.
The drama began around 2 p.m. near Gate 21, where a Frontier Airlines plane bound for Denver was grounded after TSA agents became suspicious about the bag in the Terminal C baggage area, according to Orange County sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock, the agency's spokesman.
There has been some chatter of a grenade being what TSA agents thought they had discovered in the bag, but Hallock denied that.
A search of the plane and all 130 of its passengers and crew on Flight 264 turned up nothing else unusual, but during the operations the area inside and outside the terminal near Gate 21 was evacuated. The Terminal C baggage area was also closed. Bags and passengers were diverted to other areas of JWA.
The sheriff's department tweeted this afternoon that the passenger and bag are in custody and the airport has been deemed safe. It's unclear if any arrests were made.
The incident delayed some Southwest Airlines flights, and anyone bound for the airport for other travel today is encouraged to contact their carriers to make sure those flights are not delayed, according to an airport spokesperson.
UPDATE NO. 1, AUG. 27, 6:18 P.M.: The checked luggage that caused the ruckus at John Wayne Airport this afternoon contained three military artillery fuses and a less-lethal grenade sting ball, according to Orange County sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock.
27- 23-year-old passenger who carried the bag was arrested on suspicion of possessing a weapon in an area of the airport where it is not allowed.
Grenade sting balls project small rubber pellets when detonated, but none of the four devices in the bag posed a threat of exploding, Hallock reportedly told City News Service.
Military officials will take possession of the devices, according to Hallock.