Miami-Dade County

Man Arrested After Suspicious Package Led to Lockdown at MIA, Venetian Causeway

Anand Raja, 46, is facing charges of possession of a hoax bomb and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to an arrest report

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A man is facing charges after suspicious items in his luggage led to a lockdown at Miami International Airport and the closure of the Venetian Causeway for several hours Wednesday, authorities said.

Anand Raja, 46, is facing charges of possession of a hoax bomb and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to an arrest report.

The report said the incident began when officers responded to the Marriott Hotel at 1633 N. Bayshore Drive, after hotel security said Raja had left behind 10 pieces of luggage in his room after checking out.

When security inspected the luggage, they found a metal device and three throwing knives, along with a brown box containing what appeared to be a stick of dynamite and a battery source, the report said.

Investigators discovered Raja had left the hotel and ended up at a female acquaintance's apartment, where at one point he threatened her with a steak knife when she told him to leave, the report said.

“He grabbed a knife and he attempted to stab her,” said Miami Police spokeswoman Kenia Fallat. "She was able to break free, he left, jumped in to a rideshare and then went to a series of locations, and then made it back to the airport and that’s where we get involved."

Raja had left more luggage in a vehicle at a parking garage of an apartment near the hotel, and ended up taking a taxi to Miami International, the report said.

Officers responded to the airport and found Raja at the departures terminal of American Airlines where he was taken into custody, the report said.

An American Airlines plane was de-boarded on the tarmac and the airport was locked down for several hours, according to the report.

Anand Raja
Miami-Dade Corrections
Anand Raja

"Due to the suspected explosive devices that Raja was in possession of, authorities had no option but to lock down Miami International Airport for several hours while the investigation proceeded," the report said.

Officers and a bomb squad also responded to the parking garage, forcing the shutdown of the nearby Venetian Causeway.

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Police officers, firefighters and bomb squad members respond near the Venetian Causeway on Jan. 13, 2021.

"Raja's actions of leaving his luggage containing a suspected bomb in a vehicle that was parked in a garage at an apartment complex caused the City of Miami Police Department to lock down the immediate area, evacuate the building and conduct a massive bomb sweep utilizing multiple agencies and resources in order to ensure the safety of the citizens," the report said.

Raja, whose address was listed in California in the arrest report, was booked into the Miami-Dade jail. Attorney information wasn't available.

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