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Asheville airport bomb scare suspect has criminal background

Court documents show Michael Estes is a convicted felon in Swain County for assault with the intent to cause serious bodily injury. He has also been found guilty of breaking and entering in Swain County. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

The man accused of leaving an explosive device at Asheville Regional Airport on Friday has a criminal background.

Court documents show Michael Estes is a convicted felon in Swain County for assault with the intent to cause serious bodily injury. He has also been found guilty of breaking and entering in Swain County.

Estes waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and an arraignment is set to happen next — a date for that has not been announced.

News 13 also learned more about his connection with the airport bomb scare Friday.

Airport police discovered the device and called in the FBI, along with Asheville Police Department's bomb squad.

Investigators found a mason jar with ammonium nitrate, nails and a shotgun cartridge. They said the jar had an alarm clock and matches taped to it.

Officers said Estes admitted to leaving the explosive at the airport and claimed he was getting ready to "fight a war on U.S. soil" but said he did not set the alarm clock.

"In of quantity, and in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing, that could cause quite a bit of damage," Bill Wysong, vice president of Tactical Training Black Wolf Protective Services, said.

Wysong said the explosive device at the airport is very common.

"A fairly substantial explosive device that has been relied upon many times the world over,” Wysong said.

The components in that device were fairly common to buy.

"We find that many times. Most explosive devices are fairly simple in their construction and fairly devastating in their consequence," Wysong said.

News 13 reached out to Estes’ attorney, but she did not return the phone call by the time this article was published.

The Department of Justice also could not comment any more on the investigation.

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