M-80s Taken to Feds' Lab After Airport Fireworks Arrest

A government lab will analyze the powerful fireworks police say were found in the backpack of a man trying to board a flight at Philadelphia International Airport

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says it will study materials taken from a Pennsylvania man accused of trying to board a flight at Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday with powerful fireworks.

Joseph Picko, 29, was detained by the Transportation Security Administration  after trying to go through security with M-80 fireworks and a water bottle filled with flash powder in his backpack, according to TSA officials.

He is federally charged him with attempting to carry an explosive device on a plane.

TSA agents found the explosive items in Picklo's carry-on luggage around 5:45 a.m. Thursday, said police.

The TSA said that Picklo had a couple of homemade M-80s and flash powder in his bag. He also had a test tube filled with another powdery substance that had a wick, according to a criminal complaint obtained by NBC10.

Picklo, a self-described independent salesman from Dallas, Pa. (outside Wilkes Barre), was planning to board a US Airways flight to San Francisco. The plane was not in danger and took off almost on time, said investigators.

Authorities say Picklo told them that he had a reason for having the fireworks in his baggage.

"He says that he has an interest in these items professionally and that he experiments with items and that he had forgotten they were in his luggage," said police Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan.

Philly cops arrested Picklo and then turned him over to federal custody. Picklo's federal arrest warrant says that he "knowingly and intentionally" had the devices on him.

The federal charge he faces carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, according to federal prosecutors.

He never got close to an airplane and there was never any real threat to passengers, according to officials.

"The point that I want to stress here is that the male who was in possession of these destructive devices did not make it through screening," said Sullivan.

TSA officers received further praise for catching the explosive items.

"The training and alertness of the officers at the Philadelphia checkpoint prevented these items from being brought on board an aircraft," said Philadelphia TSA Federal Security Director Robert Ellis.

The D/E gates security checkpoint was temporarily shut down and a bomb disposal unit was called to inspect the device before the all clear was given around 6:25 a.m. During that time all passengers were diverted to the C-gate security checkpoint, according to authorities.

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