A 21-year-old Marine who allegedly tried to bring live military ordnance onto a plane at Palm Springs International Airport pleaded not guilty to a felony charge Monday.

Steven Corey Vella, who was stationed in Twentynine Palms, is charged with one felony count of unlawfully possessing a destructive or explosive device in a prohibited area for allegedly trying to board a March 4 flight from Palm Springs to New York with ground burst simulators, smoke grenades, a dummy hand grenade and an inert mortar body, according to court documents.

The items, some of which are used to simulate explosions, were allegedly found in Vella’s luggage by Transportation Security Administration personnel.

He was initially given a misdemeanor citation and released, according to an arrest warrant declaration.

Vella is slated to return to the Indio courthouse on Sept. 20 for a felony settlement conference. He remains free on $10,000 bail.

There was no word from authorities about a motive for the alleged violation. Nor was there any word of what consequences Vella could face from the Marines.

–City News Service

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