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

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