Scientist Causes Miami Airport Bomb Scare

By Jason Beahm on September 06, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

You transport the bubonic plague one time and suddenly police get all suspicious.

A 70 year-old scientist detained at Miami International Airport for a suspicious item in his suitcase that looked like a bomb had been arrested before. In 2003, Thomas Butler was teaching at Texas Tech when he was accused of illegally transporting the plague, a potentially lethal bacterial infection which killed millions of Europeans in the Middle Ages. Butler was acquitted on the plague transportation charges but convicted of fraud.

While nothing illegal or dangerous was found in the possession of Butler this time, the bomb scare caused an airport evacuation. Yeah, might want to keep an eye on professor Butler. This time, however, the police search came up clean, so Butler was released after the investigation. He had arrived on a flight from the Middle East, The Associated Press reports. Police speaking under the condition of anonymity said that Butler cooperated with their investigation. Butler is an American citizen.

According to another anonymous source that spoke to the AP, the metal canister was part of a legitimate science experiment. In fact, Butler is currently a professor at Ross University in Dominica and is on a teaching assignment located in Saudi Arabia. Butler told investigators that the canisters contained dead bacteria samples for medical testing.

While Thomas Butler was cleared this time, considering his past issues, it would be wise of him to inform airport authorities of what he is transporting ahead of time. With a bit of advance notice, he probably could have avoided the bomb scare and subsequent evacuation, even if they weren't legally his fault.

On the bright side, at least the bacteria he was carrying this time were dead.

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