NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s been two months since a Dallas-bound US Airways flight had to be turned around after someone called in a bomb threat. Today a Philadelphia man faces federal charges in connection with the fake threat.
The 26-year-old man allegedly made the phone call to get back at his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend, who was traveling on Flight 1267 and had allegedly posted compromising photos of the woman on Facebook.
“Today an information was filed against Kenneth W. Smith Jr., of Philadelphia, in connection with a hoax called into authorities about explosives on an aircraft,” explained Patty Hartman, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia. “Smith is charged with Malicious False Information about an Explosive and False Information and Hoaxes.”
The legal step was taken after Smith made a decision. “An ‘information’ is when a defendant waves their right to have a case presented to a grand jury,” Hartman said.
During the September 6 phone call, Philadelphia Airport Police said the caller warned that North Texas passenger Christopher Shell had boarded the plane with an explosive device. The flight was turned back to a Philadelphia airport and the 69 passengers and five crew-members onboard the plane were removed and re-screened. Once it was determined that no explosives were on the plane the flight was cleared and once again headed to North Texas.
Once the plane arrived at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport passenger Shell was hauled off the plane in handcuffs and taken in for questioning. Shell was held on a Collin County warrant for failing to show up for a court appearance on two misdemeanor charges for marijuana possession.
Meanwhile, if convicted of both charges, Kenneth Smith faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, a maximum $500,000 fine, supervised release and possible restitution for the costs associated with the crime.
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