An N.C. chemical supplier is at the center of what authorities are calling a thwarted terrorism attempt.
FBI agents believe that the suspect, Khalid Aldawsari tried to buy the toxic chemical phenol from Carolina Biolgoical Supply, in suburban Burlington.
CBS develops and markets kits for student science experiments. The 450-employee company based out of suburban Burlington bills itself as the leading supplier of science and math products to teachers and university professors.
In a statement, the company said Aldawsari tried to purchase 10 bottles of phenol from them in January. The chemical is routinely used in college-level organic chemistry classes. It's toxic, but becomes a dangerous explosive when mixed with sulfuric and nitric acids.
A criminal complaint said the company doesn't ship to homes or individuals and that Aldawsari tried to have it shipped through Con-way Freight. A day after shipping the chemical, the company said, CBS became aware that the shipment was suspicious. Keith Barker, product safety and compliance manager for CBS, said many people at the company didn't know how large a role their phone call to the FBI played in the investigation until Thursday, when the criminal complaint was unsealed.
"We're proud of the actions some of our staff have taken," Barker said. "We didn't know this full picture. We didn't know how we fit into this."
The company notified the FBI and ordered the product to be returned by the shipping customy. It was never delivered to Aldawsari.
The Charlotte FBI office didn't return message seeking comment