The Green Beret accused of attempting to smuggle explosives through a Texas airport on New Year's Eve had already been, just a week before, caught allegedly attempting to get a live smoke grenade on another commercial flight, law enforcement officials told ABC News.
Special Forces Sgt. Trey Scott Atwater, 30, was detained in a Midland, Texas, airport after security discovered two packages over a pound each in Atwater's carry-on luggage labeled as C-4 explosives, according to an account provided by law enforcement officials. Atwater, who was traveling with his wife and two children, was not carrying the initiator or detonators that are required for the C-4 to explode.
When interviewed by the FBI while in custody, Atwater, an explosives expert in the elite U.S. Army unit, said he simply forgot he had the C-4 on him and must have carried them on an earlier flight from Fayetteville, North Carolina, officials said.
According to officials who reviewed an internal security report, TSA officials in Fayetteville said they doubt Atwater had carried the C-4 on a previous Dec. 24 flight from Fayetteville. The report said that Atwater was stopped that day after security screeners discovered a live smoke grenade in his carry-on, but after a thorough search, no other suspicious material was found.
Atwater is scheduled to appear in court later today where he will be arraigned on charges relating to both the Dec. 31 C-4 discovery and the Dec. 24 smoke grenade incident, authorities said.