Charlotte air traffic controller charged with having weapon of mass destruction

Dandan (Mecklenburg County Jail)
Dandan (Mecklenburg County Jail)
Fells (Mecklenburg County Jail)
Fells (Mecklenburg County Jail)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - An air traffic controller at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and another man were arrested Friday accused of having a weapon of mass destruction.

Paul George Dandan, 30, is charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction, acquiring a weapon of mass destruction and transporting a weapon of mass destruction. Police say Dandan, an air traffic controller at Charlotte-Douglas, had a homemade pipe bomb he got from another man.

That other man, 39-year-old Derrick Fells, admitted to police that he made the bomb to "use it against a neighbor" with whom he had an ongoing dispute. According to the official report, Fells "changed his mind" and gave the bomb to Dandan.

Fells was charged with three counts of manufacturing a weapon of mass destruction and one count of possession of a weapon of mass destruction.

The Federal Aviation Administration said that Dandan "only had access to the offsite Air Traffic Control Tower and had no access to the restricted areas of the terminal or ramp.  He did not have access to any aircraft at the Airport."

The FAA also confirmed that they had "terminated [Dandan's] access to the facility and is investigating."

Law enforcement sources confirmed that the FBI is involved in the investigation as well.

Dandan was taken to the Mecklenburg County Jail and placed under a $45,000 secured bond.

Dandan's attorneys, Ron Frey and David Lange, released a statement on Monday:

There is no allegation of any wrongdoing with respect to Mr. Dandan's position as an air-traffic controller and no allegation that he intended or attempted to harm any person or property. As an air-traffic controller and volunteer firefighter, he committed himself to the service of others and the community. He cooperated with the authorities during the investigation. As counsel for Mr. Dandan, we look forward to addressing the matter in court.

No further information has been released.

According to the FBI, a weapon of mass destruction is defined as:

  • Any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas, including the following: a bomb; grenade; rocket having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than four ounces; missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce; mine; or device similar to any of the previously described devices;
  • Any weapons that is designed or intend to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors;
  • Any weapon involving a disease organism; and
  • Any weapon that is designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life.

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