A 71-year-old man has been charged with possession of an explosive device, endangering an aircraft and mischief in connection with a scare at Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport.

Antony Piazza was detained at the airport on Sunday as he tried to board a flight to Los Angeles.

Police said his carry-on bag contained components for making an explosive device, though it did not contain actual explosive material, police say.

"He had numerous parts of an explosive device, except the explosive itself," said Montreal police Cmdr. Ian Lafrenière. 

Suspect says bag wasn't his

Piazza's lawyer said police allege they found bullets, wires, charcoal and a powder in his luggage.

Piazza told police that he is innocent, and that the bag they found was not his, according to his lawyer.

Piazza, born Houshang Nazemi, legally changed his name in 1986.

His lawyer said that Piazza was sentenced to 10 years for drug trafficking in 1985, under his former name. 

Police evacuate homes to search for clues

Police searched Piazza's home in Montreal's LaSalle borough, trying to find clues in connection with a suspicious package that caused panic and delays at the airport on Sunday.

hi-Antony-Piazza-bomb-scare-Montreal-airport

Police say Antony Piazza, 71, was carrying a bag that contained components for making an explosive device. (CBC)

Several homes were evacuated and about 20 residents were displaced as the search was conducted.

Lafrenière said no explosive devices were found at the man's home, however, police recovered documents that they hope will provide answers.

The incident began when the man's carry-on luggage was flagged in the U.S. customs area Sunday at around 5:45 a.m. ET by an airport employee.

A spokesperson for the airport said a police tactical team set up a large security perimeter near the terminal at 10:35 a.m. so officers could analyze the package, which was removed at about 1 p.m. The contents were sent to a lab for tests.

Police believe man was working alone

"We didn't want to take any risk and any chances, because when there's an airport, there's a lot of people, so that's why we evacuated certain parts," said Montreal police Const. Jean-Pierre Brabant.

Lafrenière said everyone on the plane was searched, just in case the man may have been working with an accomplice.

But police have no reason to suspect anyone else is involved, Lafrenière said.   

"This is still a mystery for us. Why was he doing that?" he said.

The accused is expected to be back in court for a bail hearing Tuesday morning.