RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — A former Transportation Security Administration screener was charged Wednesday after allegedly making threats against the Los Angeles International Airport.
Nna Alpha Onuoha, 29, of Inglewood, was charged with two federal counts of making threats to terminals at LAX. If convicted of both counts, Onuoha faces up to 15 years in federal prison.
During his first court appearance in United States District Court Wednesday afternoon, Onuoha was not asked to enter a plea, and the judge ruled he be held without bail until Monday when the detention hearing will be continued, because he considered a flight risk and a threat.
Onuoha was arrested shortly before midnight Tuesday in Riverside by members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Riverside Police Department.
The suspect, who had worked for the TSA since 2006, was forced to resign from his job earlier in the day, the FBI said.
“Following his resignation on Tuesday, Onuoha allegedly left a package at TSA’s LAX Headquarters addressed to a TSA employee,” Laura Eimiller of the FBI said.
The package was treated as suspicious by authorities and inspected by an LAPD bomb squad.
“The package did not contain explosives or harmful substances, but did contain an 8-page letter in which Onuoha expressed his thoughts about the incident that led to his suspension and disdain for the United States, among other opinions,” Eimiller added.
Later Tuesday, a man, believed to be Onuoha, called the TSA and instructed an employee to “begin evacuating certain terminals at the airport,” according to the FBI.
The caller stated that he would be “watching” to see if the evacuations were carried out.
“A second phone call was received by TSA from a male caller believed to have been Onuoha, again advising the TSA employee that specific terminals at LAX should be evacuated,” Eimiller said.
The terminals mentioned in the call were cleared of passengers and LAX employees, however, no threat was found.
Task force members responded to Onuoha’s Inglewood apartment, the Westside Residences, A Veterans Community, and found a note taped inside a closet that made an unspecified threat citing Wednesday’s 9/11 anniversary.
The 8-page letter sent to TSA led authorities to a website satanhasfallen.org, which includes pictures of Onuoha in front of a cross and an American flag and an essay reportedly written by the suspect.
“On 9/11/13, I will release some instructions that delivers my real message to you, to America, to satan and his people in teh whole world,” the site reads. “Our Lord Our God Our Savior did not tell me to evacuate you people from the Airport, I did this part on my own. This is the only way for me to get the attention of the whole world.”
Onuoha, a former U.S. service member, was located shortly before midnight sleeping in his van at the Harvest Church, 6115 Arlington Avenue, in Riverside, local police said.
“He actually had parked in the back parking lot at a church and their security had seen him and told him to move and based on the security information, we realized that this was the same subject that was wanted in connection with LAX thing,” said Lt. Guy Toussaint of the Riverside Police Department.