RealNews

Inquiry about crop duster plane briefly raises terror concern

Federal and state officials last night questioned two Brazilian men believed to have attempted to purchase or lease a crop duster plane at Beverly Airport, a move that triggered an intense multiagency search as law enforcement worried that the men might want the plane for terrorist activity. The men, initially reported to be of Middle Eastern descent, were not charged with any criminal or terrorist offense, FBI spokeswoman Gail A. Marcinkiewicz said. Law enforcement officials, who did not identify the men, said the Immigration and Naturalization Service might take the two into custody for being in the country illegally. The search for the men underscored the region’s intense state of alert, with scrutiny focused for hours yesterday on the two-runway Beverly Airport, which straddles Beverly and Danvers, while members of the federal Joint Terrorism Task Force remained on edge until the two had been located and questioned. Crop dusters have become a point of concern for law enforcement because they can be used to spray chemical or biological agents. ”This is just an example of one of the many pieces of information we receive and respond to,” Marcinkiewicz said. ”The important thing is that it’s been resolved. It’s not a terrorism event.” Full Story

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