Friday, March 16, 2012

TSA Week in Review: Thousands of Ecstasy Pills Concealed in Passenger’s Undergarments

Ecstasy Drugs, Knives, nunchucks.
Grenade Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army
Pure Ecstasy: A passenger underwent a pat-down after opting out of the body scanner at Los Angeles (LAX). During the pat-down, our officer came across a bulky area and the passenger insisted it was nothing out of the ordinary. Nah, there’s nothing out of the ordinary about 1000 - 2000 hits of ecstasy in your undergarments, right? We’re not looking for drugs, but until we figure out what the item is, we have to assume it could be dangerous. When we find narcotics, we have to report them. Simple solution… Don’t bring them on a plane.

40mm High Explosive Dual Purpose Projectile (Grenade): You can imagine the surprise when an officer at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) discovered a grenade in a carry-on bag. We find a lot of inert grenades, but this time it was the real deal. While it was a dangerous piece of live military ordnance, there was no nefarious intent. It was a soldier who made a mistake and in the end, no charges were filed.

Interesting Firearm: A pistol was found at Mobile (MOB). It’s a revolver that can shoot both .45 rounds and .410 shotgun shells. Nothing good can come from a pistol in the close quarters cabin of a plane that fires shot. (See photo

Body Scanner Find: A passenger at Denver (DEN) stepped up to one of our body scanners while wearing a belt buckle knife. We found it. Oh, we found his multi-tool knife too.
More Examples of What not to say at the Checkpoint: These are all examples from this week of how to inconvenience yourself and others at a TSA checkpoint.
  • LaGuardia (LGA)  Passenger stated: “I have a torpedo in my brassiere.” (Obviously, they didn’t have a torpedo in their brassiere.)
  • Las Vegas (LAS)  Passenger asked: “Why are you harassing this innocent woman when you just let me through with a tube of plastic explosives?” (They didn’t have a tube of plastic explosives.)
A Brush With Death II: You saw the first Brush With Death here, and now it’s back! This time at Phoenix (PHX). What looks like an ordinary everyday hairbrush pulls apart to reveal a molded plastic implement of death. Hair beware! 

Very Kind Words: A member of the Families of September 11 gave this card to one of our Officers at Laguardia (LGA).

Screenshot of Families 0f 9/11 Letter.
Concealed Items: A razor, a small saw blade, and a garrote were detected under a sewn-on patch in a carry-on bag at Norfolk (ORF). Sounds like the beginning of a joke: “So, this razor, a saw blade, and a garrote walk into a bar…”

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items: In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also found firearm components, a shocking amount of stun guns, brass knuckles, a plethora of knives, ammunition, and batons.

6 loaded firearms.
Firearms: Here are the firearms our Officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday.
19 firearms discovered. 16 were loaded.
You can travel with your firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline. You can go here for more details on how to properly travel with your firearms. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.

Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds. Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the throughput is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home. Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions, that's for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items in their bag. That’s why it’s important to double check your luggage before you get to the airport.

Blogger Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

We’re not looking for drugs, but until we figure out what the item is, we have to assume it could be dangerous. When we find narcotics, we have to report them.

If you "have" to report drugs to the police, then you are acting as agents of the police, and are therefor bound by the 4th Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Where are your warrants?

RB said...

Body Scanner Find: A passenger at Denver (DEN) stepped up to one of our body scanners while wearing a belt buckle knife. We found it. Oh, we found his multi-tool knife too.
..........................
What happened to having to remove belts?

This item would have been found in the much less expensive WTMD so I don't see the Electronic Strip Search Machine costing around $180,000 having any role in this.

Anonymous said...

If the guy with the "belt buckle knife" would have rotated that belt around his body such that the buckle was on his side, you wouldn't have seen it. ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olEoc_1ZkfA

Jim Huggins said...

And, here's the other side of TSA's Week In Review:

Bye, Bye, Birdie: Orlando-Sanford Airport loves the TSA so much that it's just applied to replace TSA with private screeners.

Puff, The Magic Dragon: A TSO at Newark confiscated a camera lens air puffer because it "looked like a bomb".

Gee ... why didn't you want to talk about these stories, too?

Anonymous said...

Here's a clue when you're trying to figure out whether something shoved in someone's underwear is drugs or explosives: it's drugs. It's always drugs. It has never been explosives. So please stop it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
We’re not looking for drugs, but until we figure out what the item is, we have to assume it could be dangerous. When we find narcotics, we have to report them.

If you "have" to report drugs to the police, then you are acting as agents of the police, and are therefor bound by the 4th Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Where are your warrants?

March 16, 2012 7:21 PM

------------------
Really?
Guess you know more about the law than the various judges, both administrative and legal that have upheld arrests based on TSA discoveries. You know what, after 10 yrs of the same rhetoric, it's getting tiresome.

Sam Boyd said...

Anonymous said:

"Here's a clue when you're trying to figure out whether something shoved in someone's underwear is drugs or explosives: it's drugs. It's always drugs. It has never been explosives. So please stop it."

Really?? Remember the Christmas Underwear bomber??

He's the reason for the enhanced pat-down and body scanners. He attempted to bomb a plane with explosive concealed in his underwear, and very nearly was successful. Poor planning and fast acting passengers probably prevented his plot from being working. BTW, TSA didn't stop him because he wasn't screened in America, he was flying into the country. I, for one, am happy to know that it is harder to get a bomb on the plane today than in the past.

Anonymous said...

To SamBoyd,

It is not harder to get explosives on a plane, as we have seen demonstrated several times in the past. TSA procedures are ineffective, and the Government's own studies prove it. BTW - How about the 17 known terrorists that slipped by TSA security and flew domestic flights in the US, including the NYC car bomber.

My question is how you can have any sense of security regarding TSA performance? It cannot be based on historical evidence or procedural logic, since the TSA has been empirically, practically and legally disproved time and time again, both here in the states and abroad.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous;
Your question of "Where are your warrants? Did you not finish reading the 4th Amendment? Continue reading and it will say ...but upon probable cause,..., no need for warrants at that point.

Jerome Solanum said...

"Simple solution… Don’t bring them on a plane."

so does that mean if I have a gate pass and won't actually be getting on a plane, and you find drugs on me, you'll let it go and won't report it?

Anonymous said...

You obviously don't know the law. TSA conducts administrative searches and thus does not need a warrant. Look into the 9th Circuit Courts ruling on U.S. Vs Davis and Public Law 107-71.

People dont have the RIGHT to fly it is a PRIVILEGE. If you have a problem with the screening of your person and property DONT FLY!

It's hillarious how so many people complain and whine about TSA. Stop acting like bratty children and grow up. TSA is here to prevent another 9/1, do you all remember that? Just in case you have forgotten it is where countless of innocent lives were stolen because terrorist hi-jacked our commercial planes.

People need to thank the TSA not bash them.

--RuleAZ

Anonymous said...

You still have to remove belts. Yet people are extremely oblivious or they neglect to take it off. Furthermore not all belt knives are made from metal some are made from plastic or ceramic materials which the WTMD would not.

WTMDs are anobsolete screening form when compared to modern technology. People praise them like they are the know all see all when in fact they are the equivalent of an atari in gaming terms. They were good for back in the day, but they just dont cut it now


--RuleAZ

Anonymous said...

You know what's getting tiresome? People complaining and whining for 11 years.

Fishstick said...

TSA finds drugs in California all the time. They tell the police as required. The police don't care and the passenger is released. TSA stands there and lets them go.

If DHS really wanted to use TSA to find drugs they would put a DEA agent at all the airports and have them make arrests.

Anonymous said...

They have talked of situations where they've made a mistake. They've even apologized publicly for things and yet people still find things to complain about. Their apology was to late, it wasn't heart-felt or that they purposefully did it because they are power hungry. What's next? Is someone going to complain because their apology doesn't have enough vowels in it?

Anonymous said...

"Guess you know more about the law than the various judges, both administrative and legal that have upheld arrests based on TSA discoveries. You know what, after 10 yrs of the same rhetoric, it's getting tiresome."

Lol. Are you saying that administrative judges are not legal? Please enlighten us with your analysis of Higerd v Florida and US v Fofana, in light of your assertion.

Anonymous said...

Sam Boyd said...
Anonymous said:

"Here's a clue when you're trying to figure out whether something shoved in someone's underwear is drugs or explosives: it's drugs. It's always drugs. It has never been explosives. So please stop it."

Really?? Remember the Christmas Underwear bomber??

He's the reason for the enhanced pat-down and body scanners. He attempted to bomb a plane with explosive concealed in his underwear, and very nearly was successful. Poor planning and fast acting passengers probably prevented his plot from being working. BTW, TSA didn't stop him because he wasn't screened in America, he was flying into the country. I, for one, am happy to know that it is harder to get a bomb on the plane today than in the past.

March 17, 2012 12:30 PM
..............
Well Sam if someone want to bomb a plane all they have to do is send the item as cargo since TSA has failed to meet the Congressional mandate of 100% cargo screening.

You should feel safer about that, eh?

Anonymous said...

Sam Boyd said...
"Really?? Remember the Christmas Underwear bomber??
He's the reason for the enhanced pat-down and body scanners. He attempted to bomb a plane with explosive concealed in his underwear, and very nearly was successful. Poor planning and fast acting passengers probably prevented his plot from being working."

His little bomb would have at worst kill a few people near him. It wouldn't have brought down the plane. He could have killed more people using a handgun in the terminal.

"BTW, TSA didn't stop him because he wasn't screened in America, he was flying into the country."

Flights into the US must be screened to TSA standards. I would guess that the European airports actually have better trained people.

"I, for one, am happy to know that it is harder to get a bomb on the plane today than in the past."

Don't bet on that. Getting past the TSA is easy.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Really?
Guess you know more about the law than the various judges, both administrative and legal that have upheld arrests based on TSA discoveries. You know what, after 10 yrs of the same rhetoric, it's getting tiresome.


Gee, one part of the government held up the unconstitutional actions of another part of that same government? Wow. Never seen that before. [/sarcasm]

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Really?? Remember the Christmas Underwear bomber??

He's the reason for the enhanced pat-down and body scanners.


Please explain how, exactly, having more TSA rules and restrictions would have stopped him when you admit "he wasn't screened in America, he was flying into the country".

I, for one, am happy to know that it is harder to get a bomb on the plane today than in the past.

Then you are happy about something that doesn't exist. The recent Corbett video proved it is (and always has been) trivial to get stuff past the scanners.

And I'm not even getting into... inserted... explosives.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
To Anonymous;
Your question of "Where are your warrants? Did you not finish reading the 4th Amendment? Continue reading and it will say ...but upon probable cause,..., no need for warrants at that point.


Selective quoting fail.

It says "...and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

In other words, they need Probable Cause to issue the warrants. AND those warrants MUST describe where they are searching, and who/what they are looking for.

Sandra said...

And it continues, this time the victim was a three-year old boy a Chicago:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNO-AzPxS4U&feature=share

screen shot taken

Anonymous said...

". I, for one, am happy to know that it is harder to get a bomb on the plane today than in the past."

But, Sam, you're employed by the TSA, correct? Isn't this totally self-serving?

Henry Oakdale said...

Interesting. I would've never guessed half of those things would ever pop up. What's worse is that people should know, through common sense, that they'll get caught.

Someone actually had a 40mm Grenade? I wonder what they were planning on hunting with that.

S said...

Why don't we see anything about the C4 that the TSA missed in Fayetteville?

screen shot

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=YNO-AzPxS4U

Stop finding guns, ecstasy, etc. Please immediately concentrate on this problem! Do you know how many wheelchair bound 3 year olds are NOT checked? Who knows what they are bringing on board every day. Great job on this one kid, but SHAME on the TSA for letting hundreds of potential terrorists through on a regular basis.

I remember my (then) 88 year old grandmother being asked to step out of a wheel chair to be checked. But I shudder to think how many old terrorists wheel right through sometimes. She's gone now, so she won't be causing any more trouble, but there are many more like her.

SCREENSHOT TAKEN.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 3/17 11:06 PM:

An apology means nothing if there's no change behind it. You can say "I'm sorry" all you want. And it can be heartfelt (I don't believe it is, but for these purposes I'll assume it is).

What the TSA does is apologize... and then go on doing the same thing. It happens again, they apologize again, and they go on doing the same thing. The worst a TSO has to fear for blatant violations of peoples' rights is a day or two of "retraining". The TSA never has to worry about any action from Congress, despite a few vocal representatives.

Privatize security, take the employees out of federal protection, make them responsible for their actions. Make the leaders of the TSA responsible for their actions. Make the organization's financing responsible. Maybe then things will change.

Anonymous said...

Great finds! How many of those were found on three year old children in wheelchairs?

Anonymous said...

Abolish the TSA!

Anonymous said...

Just like kids bringing drugs to school, you do not need a warrant, and it must be reported to police. And also as a frequent flyer I agree with the vast majority of my fellow travelers in saying such searches are not unreasonable, your argument doesn't hold up.

Anonymous said...

It only takes one time to kill everyone onboard. What is the big deal?

Anonymous said...

Who cares about any of this? You let armed law enforcement aboard every day. Cops get arrested all the time for serious crimes. Cops are no different than a guy who works at a dry cleaners. They can and do snap at any time. They commit suicide all the time. Maybe one will decide to take down the whole planeload with him some day. And look at all the soldiers who've done mass killings on bases. You let people aboard with guns all the time. Your fake security is worthless. You protect no one.

Anonymous said...

"Someone actually had a 40mm Grenade? I wonder what they were planning on hunting with that."

It was accidentally carroed on by a soldier who had no means to, you know, make it go BOOM. Completely harmless.

Anonymous said...

Dear TSA: I have stopped flying completely thanks to your unconstitutional body scanner madness. Your assumptions that passengers can be "low" or "zero" risk based on age is also unconstitutional and dangerous. You cannot expedite people through screening on the basis of age only. Very very bad job, TSA.

Phil said...

Your staff didn't know what those pills contained. They determined that these were not weapons, explosives, or incediaries, then initiated an investigation of someone's personal items that you had no reason to examine. You're not making anyone safer, and you're conditioning people to accept warrantless searches. Please do your jobs and leave us alone.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

They don't need a warrant. In order to come into a secure area such as an airport and board an airplane, you are agreeing to a consent search of your person and all your belongings. Don't want to consent? Don't fly.

Anonymous said...

?? Really ??

Sam Boyd said...
"Really?? Remember the Christmas Underwear bomber??
He's the reason for the enhanced pat-down and body scanners. He attempted to bomb a plane with explosive concealed in his underwear, and very nearly was successful. Poor planning and fast acting passengers probably prevented his plot from being working."

---------------------

So one person is the reason for billions of dollars in useless equipment and for forcing us all to go through naked body scanners? Are we all going to have to get colonoscopies after someone shoves a bomb up their ass? Get real! It's all about money and politics and it always will be. Where there's a will, there's a way. The TSA does NOT make us safer. Look at countries in the middle east that have REAL terrorist threats every day. They don't have to go through naked body scanners, take their shoes off, or any of that stuff. Why so different here?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Great finds! How many of those were found on three year old children in wheelchairs?

March 19, 2012 12:05 PM

------------------
1st of all, the screening occurred 2 years ago, there have been procedural changes.
2nd - that "3 minute screening of child" that the news heralded was in fact 53 seconds long. The rest of the time was spent walking to the ETD, screening the chair, etc.
3rd - The TSO was very respectful of the child who did not seem to have an issue with the procedure.
4th - Why are you trolling in the wrong topic anyway?

Anonymous said...

The recent TSA finds prove that there are stupid people in the world and that the TSA can catch some of them. That isn't what I am worried about. These folks aren't attempting to destroy the airplane, just continue being petty criminals or just plain stupid.

How about the smart, clever, and ruthless terrorist who follows this issue of months? None of them have been captured.

Anonymous said...

Stop whining and complaining about everything. If you don't like the procedures that you have to go through at airports, or you feel as if TSA is not effective, then don't FLY! Drive to where ever you need to go. Problem solved. We don't want you flying with the rest of us just as much as you don't want to deal with TSA or the procedures and regulations. Over 10 years ago, things changed and you can either deal with it, or move on and thank a terrorist. Your choice. But at least make a choice and stop whining like two-year-olds.

Anonymous said...

"They don't need a warrant. In order to come into a secure area such as an airport and board an airplane, you are agreeing to a consent search of your person and all your belongings. Don't want to consent? Don't fly."

Sorry, not true. Why does this urban myth never die? There have even been screeners on this blog who claim there are big signs at airports that tell people they are consenting to be searched by entering the checkpoint.

Anonymous said...

"Stop whining and complaining about everything. If you don't like the procedures that you have to go through at airports, or you feel as if TSA is not effective, then don't FLY!"

Sorry, but you don't get to decide that for me. Don't worry, we'll cry like two year olds - maybe even like those in wheelchairs abused by screeners! - as we return some semblance of sanity to the airports. Privatization is coming and we're all - government screeners excluded - are looking forward to the change.

"Drive to where ever you need to go. Problem solved. We don't want you flying with the rest of us just as much as you don't want to deal with TSA or the procedures and regulations."

Again, not your decision. Don't like my whining? Then you need to stay out of the airports.

"Over 10 years ago, things changed and you can either deal with it, or move on and thank a terrorist."

We agree on one thing: We need to deal with security. The TSA has failed to do that so now it's time to let the adults take over and provide professional security. Stand back and don't be scared. Freedom must be defended and we'll defend yours as well as our own.

"Your choice. But at least make a choice and stop whining like two-year-olds."

I think we irritated a screener with our criticsm. Sorry, but it *is* our choice and we'll take freedom and liberty over government security theater. You had your chance and thanks for trying but you never stood a chance with the poorly educated, poorly trained and lack of standardization you brought to the fight.

Anonymous said...

"And also as a frequent flyer I agree with the vast majority of my fellow travelers in saying such searches are not unreasonable, your argument doesn't hold up."

Sorry, but you're mistaken. The vast majority of passengers believe the TSA does a horrible job. In fact, it has replaced the IRS as the most reviled government agency.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"How about the smart, clever, and ruthless terrorist who follows this issue of months? None of them have been captured."

Yes, that the elephant in the room that the TSA doesn't want to talk about.

They like to brag about how they can catch stupid or careless people but don't want to discuss how useless they are against someone who is smart and determined.

FK said...

Anonymous said...
They don't need a warrant. In order to come into a secure area such as an airport and board an airplane, you are agreeing to a consent search of your person and all your belongings. Don't want to consent? Don't fly.

Really? Let's change the wording slightly, and see if it's just as reasonable...

"In order to drive on the public roads, you are agreeing to a consent search of your car and all your belongings. Don't want to consent? Don't drive."

"In order to come out of your house, you are agreeing to a consent search of your person and all your belongings. Don't want to consent? Don't leave home."

"In order to post on this blog, you are agreeing to give me a million dollars and all your belongings. Don't want to consent? Don't post."

Do any of these sound reasonable to anyone? They sure don't to me.

kimm said...

..."Anonymous said...
It only takes one time to kill everyone onboard. What is the big deal?..."

You have a better chance of getting hit by a car crossing the road in front of your own home.

And if you take that "it only takes one" attitude, do you go through security at the grocery store? Walking down the street? Going out to a restaurant? After all, it only takes one time.......

Anonymous said...

Wow, for everyone that is so anti-TSA...
Rent a car, Ride a bus, take a train, I wish there was an option for you to get on a plane with all the other people that were not screened.

ydugas said...

TSA may not be perfect but last time I checked nothing was. TSA is an additional step to try to safeguard us in this new world of terrorism. Do some things get through, yes but a lot of things don't. I agree with other the other poster, they should have non scanned flights for all the whiners. Lets see how fast those flights fill up

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Wow, for everyone that is so anti-TSA... Rent a car, Ride a bus, take a train, I wish there was an option for you to get on a plane with all the other people that were not screened."

Hard to take a car to Hawaii.

It isn't a choice between current TSA screening or nothing at all. Few people want no screening. We just feel that the current TSA procedures have goon too far and want it scaled back.

The TSA keeps spending more money and gets more intrusive without adding any safety.

The original purpose of airport screening was to stop hijackers, not terrorists. These two groups are quite different. Screening for terrorists just doesn't work.

Nekura said...

Solution: Rather than buying a Prius or luxury car, buy the car-plane instead! It drives, and flies, and you never have to worry about vehicle renting again!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1112105/Mirror-signal-lift-Car-turns-plane-15-seconds-prepares-off.html

Get it now for the cheap price of.. £132,000.

christine mae Engcoy said...

This post is very informative regarding the rights and law of the land.

Anonymous said...

Even if you have your own plane you still can get searched. It's bull, a privilege, have you ever heard of the soviet union.

truthspeaker said...

Really? You're bragging about finding Ecstasy pills? What the hell is wrong with you?

truthspeaker said...

Since you had no way of knowing that those pills were illegal drugs, you should have immediately handed them back to the passenger and wished him a nice day.

Anonymous said...

What happened 9/1? I guess I did forget...

Juliana Paul said...

Police and customs officers from 81 countries have seized 2.4 million doses of counterfeit medicine sold over the Internet during a one-week operation, international police body Interpol said Thursday. Fifty-five people were arrested during the September 20-27 operation, codenamed Pangea 4, and more than 13,000 websites closed down, Interpol said. More than 100,000 illegal doses were seized in France, over half of which were for supposed to be for treating male erection problems, France's medical security agency that took part in the operation, AFSSAPS, said. The operation was carried out for the fourth successive year in an effort to inform the public about the risks of buying medicines online.