The three stuffed animals concealing parts for a handgun that a passenger tried to get past TSA checkpoints made the headlines last week, but agents also found a pocketful of firearms ammunition and a block of simulated Semtex explosive on other passengers the week of April 7.
Officers at Providence TF Green Airport in Rhode Island noticed what they thought looked like a disassembled firearm and ammunition in an X-ray of three stuffed animals in the baggage of a father and his small child. The gun parts were hidden in a stuffed teddy bear, bunny, and a stuffed Mickey Mouse doll.
Noting the gun-packing characters, TSA agents called law enforcement officers to the checkpoint, said the TSA’s Web blog. The officers searched the bag and the child’s stuffed animals, uncovering the frame of a .40 caliber firearm and a magazine loaded with two .40 caliber rounds was in one animal, and firing pin was inside another and the weapon’s slide was inside the third, said TSA. All of the necessary components to assemble a fully functional loaded firearm were artfully concealed in the three toys, it said.
News reports said the father was unaware of the gun parts in the toys and law enforcement attributed the concealed weapon as part of a domestic dispute.
TSA’s Blogger Bob Burns noted that the use of toys to carry weapons is another instance showing that “threats can appear anywhere” and why its officers look at everything. The agency has taken heat in recent weeks for the pat-down of a four-year-old child at the Wichita airport when the child had to be re-screened after hugging her grandmother in the midst of a security checks at the facility.
TSA officers using a body scanner at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport found 13 rounds of ammunition in a passenger’s front pocket as he passed through the device.
Officers at Northwest Florida Regional Airport near Fort Walton Beach found a block of simulated Semtex-H at their checkpoint. The device was for training, but the agency said it had no way of knowing that until after it had gone through all of the security motions to investigate it.