FBI arrests ex-TSA worker after LA airport threats

FBI: Ex-TSA worker's threats led officials to clear, search terminals

Associated Press
Ex-TSA worker charged in connection with threats
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Riverside Police Officers examine the site where Nna Alpha Onuoha, 29, was arrested late Tuesday Sept. 10. 2013 in Riverside, Calif. Onuoha, a security screener at Los Angeles International Airport was taken into custody after quitting his job and making threats that led officials to clear and search terminals at the airport, the FBI said. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A Los Angeles International Airport security screener was arrested hours after quitting his job for making unspecified threats referencing Wednesday's Sept. 11 anniversary and calling airport officials and telling them to evacuate terminals, the FBI said.

Parts of the nation's third-largest airport were cleared and searched late Tuesday. Nothing was found and there were no major disruptions to flights.

The former screener, Nna Alpha Onuoha, 29, was arrested just before midnight for investigation of making threats.

Onuoha, originally from Nigeria, had worked for the Transportation Security Administration since 2006 but was suspended recently, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. He showed up at LAX on Tuesday afternoon, resigned from his job and left behind a package at TSA's airport headquarters that was addressed to another agency employee, she said.

A bomb squad found no explosives or harmful contents in the package but discovered an eight-page letter in which Onuoha expressed disdain for the U.S. and referenced the event that led to his suspension, Eimiller said. It was not clear Wednesday why TSA suspended him.

The TSA did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking information on Onuoha. It could not be immediately determined if Onuoha had a lawyer.

Later Tuesday, a man believed to be Onuoha made two phone calls to TSA saying certain airport terminals should be evacuated, Eimiller said. During one call, the man told an employee he would "be watching" to see if authorities evacuated the terminals as instructed.

A search of Onuoha's apartment in Inglewood, near LAX, found no dangerous materials but did turn up a note containing unspecified threats that cited the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, authorities said. Additional details from the letter were not immediately provided.

Onuoha was arrested in Riverside about 65 miles away. The church parking lot where his minivan was parked was cleared and a bomb squad robot conducted a search in and around the vehicle. Nothing dangerous was found.

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