It was one costly quip for a prominent Venezuelan neurosurgeon at Miami International Airport.
Dr. Manuel Alvarado has agreed to pay a whopping $89,172.53 after an ill-advised bomb joke sparked a massive police response and shut down two concourses two months ago.
Nearly $84,000 of that will go to five airlines that had to delay flights after Alvarado told a gate agent that he had explosives in his luggage. Most of the rest of the money will go to Miami-Dade Police, which deployed the bomb squad to search the doc’s luggage.
No explosives were found.
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With Alvarado agreeing to pay for his mistake, prosecutors have decided against filing formal charges of making a false bomb threat and criminal mischief.
“I commend the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office for evaluating the facts and making the right decision,” said his defense attorney, Brian Bieber.
Back on Oct. 22, the 60-year-old surgeon was flying to Bogota, Colombia, when an Avianca ticket agent asked the perfunctory question: Do you have any explosives in your luggage?
He replied “C-4.” The agent asked if that was a gun. Alvarado explained it was an explosive. The agent quickly summoned Miami-Dade police.
Thousands of passengers were delayed as Alvarado pleaded that he had just made a joke. Police arrested Alvarado, who lives and works in Venezuela.
His attorney said Alvarado was “sleep deprived” that day.
“I feel very ashamed and sorry for that stupid thing I said,” Alvarado wrote in a confession. “I am very, very sorry.”