Oct 28 2013
AH HAH! That suspect found with explosive devices in his luggage at Montreal International Airport isn’t Italian after all, as his name, Antony Piazza, would appear to indicate
SURPRISE, SURPRISE! He’s a Canadian Muslim of Iranian origin who changed his name from Houshang Nazemi in the 1980’s. He was booked on a flight to Los Angeles and now faces three charges after parts of a potential explosive device were found in his carry-on luggage at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport. (Photo above is allegedly Piazza, but not yet confirmed)
ABC/AP (h/t Martin) Antony Piazza, 71, a Canadian of Iranian origin, was charged Monday with mischief, endangering the safety of an aircraft or airport and being in illegal possession of an explosive substance. The incident partly shut down Montreal’s main airport for several hours on Sunday and caused a neighborhood to be shut down for a police search.
Piazza, who is originally from Tehran, changed his name in the 1980s from Houshang Nazemi, said Morena. He previously served a 10-year-sentence under that name in Canadian prison for smuggling drugs into the country.
Police found wires, bullets, and a powder inside the bag, his attorney, Louis Morena, said. Morena told reporters Piazza maintains his innocence in the airport case and that the carry-on bag didn’t belong to him. “He said somebody gave the baggage to him,” Morena said.
Prosecutor Alexandre Gauthier said Piazza could face up to 10 years in prison and that the investigation is ongoing. He didn’t rule out the possibility of additional charges. “There may be more serious accusations, but it’s hard to tell what’s going to come out of the investigation right now,” Gauthier said.
Piazza, a stocky man with a clean-shaven face, wore a black suit and dress shirt in his brief appearance at the Montreal courthouse. He addressed the court in English. Piazza is set to appear again Tuesday for a bail hearing.
Police said they searched the suspect’s apartment and car in a residential area near the airport Sunday evening after the package was spotted earlier in the day. Members of the city’s SWAT team were called in and authorities set up a security perimeter spanning several city blocks during the search. About 20 residents were temporarily evacuated from their homes.
The package was spotted at a security checkpoint in the U.S. departures area early Sunday morning. Lafreniere describe the seized items as “different parts of a potential device.” “To make that a little clearer, let’s say you are trying to do a bomb inside the luggage, but one thing was missing: no explosives, but it was different parts of a dangerous device,” Lafreniere said. (Dry run?)