Miami International Airport bomb hoax suspect appears in bond court

Dr. Manuel Alvarado's bond raised to $50,000, claims gate agent misunderstood him


MIAMI – A man accused of causing a bomb scare at Miami International Airport on Wednesday made his first appearance in court on Thursday.

The defense is calling this a colossal misunderstanding. But the judge sided with prosecutors, raising Dr. Manuel Alvarado's bond to $50,000 dollars.

Two concourses at MIA were shut down Wednesday after the 60-year-old prominent neurosurgeon who lives and practices in Venezuela allegedly claimed that he had explosives in his luggage as he was getting ready to board an Avianca flight to Colombia.

Prosecutors said Alvarado was joking with a gate agent when he made the claims, but his actions sparked a massive evacuation, and an emergency situation that stranded thousands of passengers.

"What happened here was a colossal misunderstanding between the gate agent and Dr. Alvarado," said defense attorney Brian Bieber. "Dr. Alvarado never claimed he had an explosive device in his luggage."

No explosives were ever found and Alvarado cooperated with investigators. Still, prosecutors are seeking serious charges.

"There is no joke. When you have to clear two concourses at Miami International and delay traffic for over three hours, and inconvenience all of the passengers and encroach on the safety of everyone, then there is no joke," said prosecutor Frank Ledee.

"The gate agent asked Dr. Alvarado a series of questions regarding explosives and firearms and the gate agent asked him if C-4 was a firearm," countered Bieber. "Dr. Alvarado explained it wasn't and they had some banter back and forth."

The judge also ordered Alvarado to surrender his passport and he's also banned from MIA. Alvarado is expected to stay with family in Miami until he is able to return home.

Alvarado has been married for 32 years and is a father of three. He has no previous criminal history.

Follow Michael Seiden on Twitter @SeidenLocal10

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10