Friday, March 9, 2012

TSA Week in Review: Eels on a Plane?

Firearm disguised as toy, throwing stars, inert grenades, knives, spear gun, smoke bombs, hoax itiem.
Nomadic Aquarium for People on the Go: A passenger was transporting live fish, eels and coral in their checked baggage at Miami (MIA). The passenger was attempting to transport 163 marine tropical fish, 12 Trachemys Scripta (red sliders), 22 invertebrates, 24 live coral pieces, 8 pieces of Scleactinina with mushroom polyps, and 8 pieces of soft coral to Maracaibo (MAR). The passenger surrendered the items to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. We’re not in the business of looking for marine life, but you can probably imagine how odd this looked on our monitor. 

A passenger was transporting live fish, eels and coral in their checked baggage at Miami (MIA). The passenger was attempting to transport 163 marine tropical fish, 12 Trachemys Scripta (red sliders), 22 invertebrates, 24 live coral pieces, 8 pieces of Scleactinina with mushroom polyps, and 8 pieces of soft coral to Maracaibo (MAR).
 Real Gun Concealed as Toy Gun: (See photo) In an attempt to avoid declaring their firearm in checked baggage, a passenger at Jacksonville (JAX), placed their firearm in a toy police officer kit. They even went as far as sticking a dart in the barrel. Clever but no dice.

Gearshift Grenades: It’s a grenade. It’s a gearshift. It’s a gearshift grenade. (Inert) Read here and here  for more information on why inert grenades cause problems at checkpoints.

Message in a Bottle?: A suspicious black bottle with a red wire was found on the floor near a ticket counter at Houston (IAH). It was determined to be a hoax.

Blast off Those Calories: A toy grenade was found at Greensboro (GSO) containing weight loss supplements. We have nothing against weight loss, but anything in the shape of a grenade causes serious concerns at any airport.

Another Example of What Not to Say: A passenger became disruptive during screening at San Juan (SJU) and stated: “I have a bomb, but I disarmed it.” Statements like this will never expedite the screening process.

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items: In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also found a spear gun, firearm components, several stun guns, a replica firearm, brass knuckles, knives, knives, and more knives, and a fantasy knife that slays mythical creatures that don’t exist, ammunition, and batons.

12 loaded guns.
Firearms: Here are the firearms our Officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday. 

29 guns discovered. 24 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.

Including checkpoint and checked baggage screening, TSA has 20 layers of security both visible and invisible to the public. Each one of these layers alone is capable of stopping a terrorist attack. In combination their security value is multiplied, creating a much stronger, formidable system. A terrorist who has to overcome multiple security layers in order to carry out an attack is more likely to be pre-empted, deterred, or to fail during the attempt.

Blogger Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team
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