FBI: Man left mason jar filled with explosive chemicals and nails at Asheville Airport

FILE - Federal agents have accused a man of planting a mason jar filled with explosive chemicals and nails at the Asheville Regional Airport last week. (Asheville Police Department)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP/WLOS) - Tuesday the man federal agents have accused of planting a mason jar filled with explosive chemicals, nails, and a shotgun cartridge at the Asheville Regional Airport last week appeared in court.

Authorities say the jar had an alarm clock and matches taped to it. Responders rendered the device safe after it was left near a terminal entrance.

Officers say Michael Christopher Estes acknowledged leaving the explosive at the airport, and claims he was getting ready to "Fight a war on U.S. soil," but said he did not actually set the alarm clock.

Court documents released Tuesday accuse Estes of attempted malicious use of explosive materials and unlawful possession of explosives at an airport.

Estes was arrested Saturday in the Arden area. He is being held Tuesday at the Buncombe County jail.

Court documents released Tuesday detail how federal agents tracked him down.

Authorities say Estes purchased materials from the Walmart and Lowes in Arden, and the REI in Biltmore Park. He used his membership card at REI, which is how authorities identified him.

According to N.C. Department of Corrections records, Estes is a convicted felon with a past conviction in Swain County for assault with the intent to cause serious bodily injury.

Estes has also been found guilty of breaking and entering in Swain County and is listed as an absconder on the Department of Justice’s website.

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

His attorney, a federal public defender, had no comment.

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