Friday, May 11, 2012

TSA Week in Review: Disassembled Gun and Ammo Found in Three Stuffed Animals


Officers (LEOs) were called to the checkpoint and after searching the bag, they discovered a disassembled weapon hidden in three of the child’s stuffed animals. The main frame of a .40 caliber firearm was in one animal. A magazine loaded with two .40 caliber rounds and firing pin was inside another. The slide was inside third stuffed animal. All of the necessary components to assemble a fully functional loaded firearm were artfully concealed in the three stuffed animals.
Disassembled Gun and Ammo Found in Three Stuffed Animals - TSA Officers at Providence TF Green Airport (PVD) noticed what appeared to be a disassembled firearm on the X-ray screen of baggage belonging to a father and his small child. Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) were called to the checkpoint and after searching the bag, they discovered a disassembled weapon hidden in three of the child’s stuffed animals. The main frame of a .40 caliber firearm was in one animal. A magazine loaded with two .40 caliber rounds and firing pin was inside another. The slide was inside third stuffed animal. All of the necessary components to assemble a fully functional loaded firearm were artfully concealed in the three stuffed animals. This is just another example that threats can appear anywhere and this is why our Officers take a closer look at everything. It’s also an example that shows that even though we’ve made changes to how we screen children 12 & under, the security process is still just as effective. Congratulations to our Officers at TF Green Airport for a great find!

Simulated semtex-h, pepper spray gun, ammunition, throwing stars, knives.
Simulated Semtex-H – Once again, an explosives training aid was discovered at a TSA checkpoint. This time it was at Fort Walton Beach (VPS) and it involved a block of simulated Semtex-H explosive. We had no way of knowing it was simulated until after we had gone through all of the motions.

Hollowed Out Book – A hollowed out book containing narcotics and drug paraphernalia was discovered at Denver (DEN). As I’ve said many times before, we’re not looking for drugs, but when we find them, we have to report them. So… please don’t bring them. It’s yet another example of how a normal everyday item can be used to conceal items.
Hollowed Out Book – A hollowed out book containing narcotics and drug paraphernalia was discovered at Denver (DEN). As I’ve said many times before, we’re not looking for drugs, but when we find them, we have to report them. So… please don’t bring them. It’s yet another example of how a normal everyday item can be used to conceal items.

Mace Gun – It looks kind of like a 1950’s era sci-fi ray gun, but officers at Newark (EWR) discovered a mace/pepper gun.

Ammo in Pocket Found With Body Scanner – TSA Officers at Baltimore (BWI) discovered 13 rounds of ammunition in the front pocket of a passenger who went through a body scanner.

People Say the Darndest Things - Here are examples of what not to say at the airport. Statements like these not only delay the people who said them but can also inconvenience lots of other passengers if the checkpoint has to be evacuated:  
  • A passenger at Amarillo (AMA) stated “I have a bomb on my body” twice. As if once wasn’t enough?
  • While having his bag searched at Tucson (TUS) due to an explosive trace detection alarm, a passenger stated “Watch out for the explosives.”
Miscellaneous Prohibited Items - In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also found firearm components, realistic replica firearms, stun guns, brass knuckles, a ginormous amount of knives, ammunition, and batons.

7 loaded firearms.
8 loaded firearms.
30 firearms discovered. 29 were loaded.
Firearms - Here are the firearms our Officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday.

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.

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

Individuals on The No Fly List Are Not Issued Boarding Passes

There is a good chance you've probably heard about an incident where a toddler and her parents were removed from a flight because it was believed that the child was on the No Fly List. It turned out an airline computer glitch is what caused the confusion.

With that said, I wanted to take a few moments to explain the No Fly List. The No Fly list is maintained by the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center (TSC). Here is some information from a post I wrote a few years ago.

The No Fly List is a list of individuals who are prohibited from boarding an aircraft. Another list – the "Selectee" list - is a list of individuals who must undergo additional security screening before being permitted to board an aircraft. After 9/11 the TSC was created through a Presidential Directive to be administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice, in cooperation with the departments of Homeland Security, Defense, State, and Treasury, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency. The purpose for the TSC is to consolidate terrorism based watch lists in one central database, the Terrorist Screening Center Database (TSDB), and make that data available for use in screening. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies nominate individuals to be put on the watch list based on established criteria, with the list maintained by the TSC. The No Fly and Selectee lists are subsets of the TSDB and are maintained by the TSC.

The terror watch lists keep legitimate terror threats off of airplanes every day, all over the world. According to the GAO, terror watch lists have "helped combat terrorism" and "enhanced U.S. counterterrorism efforts."

This is a good opportunity for me to segue into Secure Flight. Secure Flight is a behind-the-scenes program that streamlines the watch list matching process. It improves the travel experience for all passengers, including those who have been misidentified in the past.

As far as how someone gets on the No Fly list, the TSC has to add them to the TSDB, and they can't do that unless the person is known, or appropriately suspected to be, or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism, before they are included in the TSDB per the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 6. (HSPD-6.)

If you have been told or suspect you are on the No Fly List, let me ask you these questions: Have you obtained a boarding pass? If so, you are not on the No Fly List. Have you flown? You would not be allowed on a flight if you were on the No Fly List. 


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