Airport Dynamite Joke: Alejandro Hurtado Arrested; What Joke Caused The Miami Airport Evacuation?

By Staff Reporter on November 27, 2012 1:13 PM EST

Miami International Airport
Miami International Airport (Photo: Creative Commons)

"Clear and present danger" is a common rule of thumb applied by the U.S. Supreme Court to set the boundaries of the First Amendment's freedom of speech. Most notably, the First Amendment does not protect an idiot that falsely shouts fire in a theater to cause panic.

Yesterday, 63-year-old Alejandro Leon Hurtado was arrested after he answered "dynamite" when a TACA Airlines ticket agent routinely asked if Mr. Hurtado was carrying any hazardous materials. The Guatemala native thought it would make a funny joke. In fact, the ticket agent repeated the question again only for Hurtado to laugh and reply dynamite a second time.

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The joke was not taken lightly and authorities thoroughly interrogated Hurtado as the Miami-Dade police bomb squad searched for explosives in his luggage.

Hurtado told the authorities that he had only meant to say "dynamite" as a joke but the scare had already caused a prompt evacuation at Miami International Airport's Concourse J complex. According to the written affidavit, "Once the defendant was told that the police were going to be called, the defendant stated that he was only joking."

Fortunately, the police concluded that Hurtado was nothing more than a foolish liar and not actually a crazed terrorist packing dynamite in a major international airport. Hurtado was charged for one count of false report of a bomb or explosives at an airport.

Considering the magnitude of the incident, Hurtado will probably be red flagged and face strict inspection on every single flight he will ever board in the future.

The incident also delayed an ougoing flight by Avianca Airlines by an hour. Other international arrivals were delayed as well, says airport spokesperson Greg Chin.

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