Planes, UPS truck searched for suspicious devices

Source: CNN
Source: CNN

NEWARK, NJ (RNN) - Authorities are investigating reports of suspicious items found on cargo flights that landed in Newark, NJ, and Philadelphia, PA on Friday.

"Out of an abundance of caution the planes were moved to a remote location where they are being met by law enforcement officials and swept," said UPS spokeswoman Jackie Blair in a statement.

All three cargo planes being searched are operated by UPS. One plane landed at Newark Liberty International Airport, and two planes are at Philadelphia International Airport. 

Activity is also being reported in two more states: Law enforcement officials in Brooklyn, NY at New York State's Metro Tech Business Center are  investigating a suspicious UPS truck near a bridge; and in Portland, ME, a suspicious package was reported at a federal courthouse.

"It's a backpack at the entrance to the federal courthouse in Maine," said John Clarke, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshall in Portland Maine.

Clarke said that the package was suspicious in nature and is being investigated with an "abundance of caution" by the Portland Police office.

"There is no indication that we're aware of that it's related to any of the others," he said, speaking about the suspicious packages found on UPS transportation vehicles.

Clarke noted that incidents like this one  have happened several times this year. "They are not unprecedented."

He said usually items are merely abandoned and the issues are resolved.

A person who answered the phone at the FBI offices in New York declined to comment.

The White House issued a statement Friday saying President Obama had been notified of the threat late Thursday night. He has been receiving regular updates from his national security team since last night, the statement said.

Officials said a "manipulated" toner cartridge also was found on a cargo plane that landed in London on a flight originating in Yemen and bound for Chicago. However, tests for explosive materials were negative. Yemen is the home of the al-Qaida branch that claimed responsibility for an attempted bombing of a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas.

Media reports suggest that the plane that landed in London may have triggered the searches of the other two planes in the U.S.

Copyright 2010 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved. CNN contributed to this report.