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Army Sgt. accused of carrying C4 in luggage released

Sgt. Trey Atwater

The U.S. Army sergeant who was arrested for allegedly having C4 military-grade explosives in his carry-on luggage while passing through a Texas airport security checkpiont has been released, but has been ordered to undergo a mental evaluation.

Sgt. Trey Atwater has been in federal custody after the discovery of the explosives in his luggage on New Year’s Eve. Atwater was detained at the Midland, (TX) International Airport after TSA agents detected the explosives in his bags. The FBI arrested Atwater, of Hope Mills, N.C. on charges of attempting to carry concealed explosives onto an aircraft. He has claimed he used the explosives as a demolition expert while serving in Afghanistan, but didn’t know they were still in his bag. Atwater had also been detained days earlier at the Fayetteville, N.C., airport after security agents found a military smoke grenade in his carry-on bag. News reports have said screeners at the Fayetteville airport may have missed the C-4 in the earlier screening that revealed the smoke grenade.

In releasing Atwater on Jan. 6, federal investigators said their investigation so far indicates Atwater doesn’t pose a threat to the public and authorities didn’t want to hold him any longer. Investigators, however, told the judge overseeing Atwater’s release that they consider the incident at Midland Airport to by “very serious.”  

“Based on the information developed thus far, the government has uncovered no information that would suggest that Sgt. Atwater, a Green Beret, intended harm to any aircraft, or to the flying public,” said the FBI.

Atwater was escorted back to the Army base at Ft. Bragg, N.C. by two soldiers and his supervisor there agreed to serve as his custodian who will monitor bail conditions, which includes a mental evaluation, said the FBI.

Atwater was barred from possessing firearms, weapons, or explosives of any kind. He was also ordered not to drink alcohol and to surrender his military passport and refrain from obtaining a new passport.

No further court dates have been scheduled, said the FBI.


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