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Scientist In Miami Airport Alert A Former Texas Tech Prof

Sep 3, 2010

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Frank James

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There's more information now on the scientist who shut down part of Miami International Airport because security officials worried that a metal canister in his luggage could be a bomb.

An earlier Associated Press report indicated that authorities weren't releasing the 70-year old scientist's name because he was innocent of wrongdoing. Well, that was then.

A law enforcement official has now identified the scientist as a Thomas Butler who was once charged with illegally transporting bubonic plague.

MIAMI (AP) - A senior law enforcement official says the scientist detained at Miami International Airport because of a suspicious item in his luggage had once been charged with illegally transporting bubonic plague.

The official told The Associated Press on Friday that no dangerous material was found on 70-year-old Thomas Butler after he was detained Thursday night. He was released Friday.

Butler was acquitted of illegally transporting the deadly germ, which he was accused of doing while teaching at Texas Tech in 2003. But he was convicted of fraud and served a two-year sentence.

The official said Butler cooperated fully after he arrived on a flight from the Middle East. The official requested anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information.

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