Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Look at the Dangerous, Scary, and Downright Unusual Items our Officers Found in 2012

Inert Mortar Round (ELP)
Inert Mortar Round (ELP)
After screening 637,582,122 passengers in 2012 (around 1,746,800 a day), here are some of the more dangerous, scary, and downright unusual items our officers found in 2012. This post is a reflection of the outstanding work our officers are doing in the field thanks to their vigilance and attention to detail.

Top 5 Airports for Gun Finds: 1 - ATL, 2 - DFW, 3 - PHX, 4 - IAH, 5 - FL1,556* (*Updated 7/3/13) firearms have been discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country. That’s a little over four firearms per day! Of those, 1,215 (78.7%) were loaded. Firearms have been found at a total of 199 airports with Atlanta (ATL) on top of the list - 95 in 2012. 


A disassembled gun and ammunition concealed in three stuffed animals.
Gun and Ammunition Concealed In Stuffed Animals
Here are a few of the more notable firearm incidents: 

A gun in a hollowed out book was discovered at Honolulu (HNL).

Gun In Book (HNL)

While the number of firearms discovered this year might shock you, here are some explosively dangerous items that passengers attempted to travel with this year: 

Six lbs. of black powder, detonation cords, and timing fuse were discovered at Grand Junction (GJT)

A live blasting cap was discovered in a passenger’s carry-on bag at Redmond (RDM).

Live Blasting Cap (RDM)
A live 40mm high explosive grenade was discovered at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW).

Live 40mm Grenade (DFW)

In addition to the live explosives items mentioned above, we also find a lot of inert items that look like the real deal. The problem with these types of items is that we don’t know if they are the real deal until we call out the bomb experts, and sometimes even they have a hard time figuring it out. Inert items can lead to closed terminals and checkpoints, which usually result in canceled or delayed flights. Here are some of the more interesting  inert items we’ve found so far this year: 

An inert IED with a block of simulated SEMTEX-H, and a simulated blasting cap were discovered in checked baggage at Columbus (CSG).

Inert IED (CSG)
A strange watch resembling an IED component was discovered at Oakland (OAK).

Watch Resembling IED Component (OAK)
An inert detonator was discovered in a passenger’s pocket during a pat-down search after a Charleston (CHS) passenger alarmed the body scanner.

Inert Detonator (CHS)

Eeels found in bag at Miami.
And of course, there are those items that fit into the odd/interesting category. A few examples would be bear mace in a sock, a spear gun, dead venomous snakes, a chastity belt, more cane swords than you could shake a cane sword at, a shocking amount of stun guns, a gassed up chainsaw, an 8oz. bottle of vodka discovered in a passenger's pants, a knife mounted on a walker, eels, prohibited bling, a marijuana filled grenade, another speargun, samurai swords, a stun cane, and jingle bell shotgun shells.

While this doesn’t fall into any of the categories above, it deserves to be mentioned that last August, two Behavior Detection Officers (BDO) at Miami (MIA) thwarted a kidnapping. Read more about it here.

You can check out our archives of TSA Week in Review posts to see pictures and read about many other instances where dangerous, scar, and odd items are found. Our Week in Review posts are published every Friday evening.


Speargun, swords, stun cane, chainsaw, and shotgun shells.
Bear mace, pen gun, gun in book, seal bombs, inert claymore mine.
IED training kits and intert explosives, grenade launcher, black powder, propane, det cord.
Inert bazooka, inert claymore mines, inert bazooka shell.
Powder Horn with black powder, powder flask with black powder, blasck powder primers, intert warheads.

TSA Blog Team 

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