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Tag: TSA

TSA Reveals Top 10 ‘Good Catches’ of 2020, Including Dead Baby Shark

Baby shark submerged in liquid. Photo via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

A dead baby shark, a bundle of Roman candles and a book full of knives. 

Those were among the TSA’s list of top 10 “good catches” of 2020, underscoring the sometimes bizarre discoveries at airport inspections. 

Other items on the list include a smoke grenade, cigar humidor resembling a bomb, marijuana hidden in a shampoo bottle, and a long gun hidden in the lining of a suitcase. 

The top finding? Two TSA canine handlers at the Liberty International Airport who “caught each other” and tied the knot in June. 

“On June 25, 2020, two TSA handlers professed their fur-ever love for each other! How dog-gone cute is that?”

Selfless TSA Agent Helps Family After They Flew to the Wrong Portland

TSA Office Martin Rio. Photo via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

A confused family found themselves in the wrong Portland after a travel agent booked them a flight to the wrong city.  

Instead of flying to Portland, Maine, the family of three landed 3,000 miles away in Portland, Oregon. 

That’s when TSA Officer Martin Rio came to the rescue. Asked to interpret for the Spanish-speaking travelers at a checkpoint, Rios figured out what had happened. 

“Martin is always quick to help out his team members,” Supervisory TSA officer Kaitlyn Arnold said in a news release. “He has a very positive attitude and is always smiling. I know I can always count on Martin to be dedicated to the mission.”

The confused and disheartened family spent the night in a terminal. Rios walked the family to the ticket counter and helped them buy the correct tickets. 

But the family was low on finances, so Rios dug into his pocket and covered the travel expenses. 

“[Rios] is a go getter and the fact that he chose to support these passengers in their time of need was no surprise to both his team and our leadership,” Senior TSA Manager Jeremy Alanis said. “Martin is, and has been since day one, a shining example of what it means to be a team player. [He’s] the kind of officer and person any airport in the country would be proud to have as a member of their team.”

Rios was awarded the PDX’s Make the Connection Quarterly Award for his actions. 

TSA Workers Authorized to Mandate Masks at Checkpoints

By Steve Neavling

TSA workers, who have been hammered by the coronavirus, can finally require travelers to wear masks at checkpoints and “throughout the commercial and public transportation system.”

Acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske signed the mandate Sunday, offering long-needed protection for TSA employees and travelers. The mandate goes into effect on Feb. 2 and remains active until May 11.

“The purpose of this Executive Order is to save lives and allow all Americans, including the millions of people employed in the transportation industry, to travel and work safely,” Pekoske’s declaration states. “I specifically direct the Transportation Security Administration to use its authority to accept the services of, provide services to, or otherwise cooperate with other federal agencies, including through the implementation of countermeasures with appropriate departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States in order to address a threat to transportation, recognizing that such threat may involve passenger and employee safety.”

Since the pandemic began in the U.S. in March, COVID-19 has infected 6,304 TSA employees and killed 14.

Ex-TSA Agent Gets 60 Days in Jail for Tricking Woman into Showing Her Breasts at LAX

By Steve Neavling

A former TSA agent charged with detaining a woman and tricking her into showing him her breasts in June 2019 has been sentenced to 60 days in jail and two years of probation. 

Jonathon Lomeli was accused of deceiving the woman to get her to expose herself to him at Los Angeles International Airport. 

Lomeli pleaded no contest Friday to using fraud or deceit to falsely imprison the woman and was also ordered to attend 52 classes addressing sexual compulsion, The Associated Press reports.

Lomeli also has been banned from serving as a security guard. 

According to the woman, Lomeli advised her he had to check the inside of her bra to ensure she wasn’t concealing anything and told her to pull her pants from her waist so he could examine. While in an elevator, she said Lomeli told her he could screen here there and told her to show her breasts before looking down her pants. 

She said he also told her she had nice breasts after notifying her that she could leave. 

TSA Employees Put at Risk As Record Number of People Travel Since Pandemic Began

By Steve Neavling

The number of airline travelers screened by the TSA reached 1.3 million this weekend, the highest number since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

As travelers defy CDC recommendations to avoid travel, TSA agents are at greater risk of getting infected with COVID-19.

No federal law enforcement agency has been hit with the coronavirus like the TSA. Since the pandemic began, the coronavirus has killed 12 TSA employees and infected 4,767.   

There are 723 active infections. 

“We’re seeing a spike in cases where we’re seeing a spike in the community,” Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokeswoman, told the Washington Post. “Anecdotally, we’ve heard that people who are getting covid are getting it while they’re not at work.”

Farbstein says the TSA is urging employees to allowing CDC guidelines. 

TSA Officer Dies from COVID-19, Ninth Employee Killed by Coronavirus

TSA employee Eduard Faktorvich. Photo via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

The coronavirus claimed the life of a TSA officer at Denver International Airport.

Eduard Faktorvich, who joined the TSA in Denver in April 2018, worked exclusively at the security checkpoint. He died Monday, the TSA announced Tuesday. 

“His colleagues remember him as a kind and respectful person, who always had a smile on his face,” the TSA said in a statement. “Although Eduard was with TSA for only two and half years, the entire team at DEN is saddened by the loss of one their own.”  

Faktorvich is the ninth TSA employee to die from COVID-19. Another 2,885 TSA employees have tested positive for the coronavirus.

“His death is a reminder to all of us at TSA of the ongoing seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the TSA said. “We remain committed to continuing to take every precaution to help protect our workforce as well as airline travelers.”

TSA Seizes Cigar Humidor That Resembled Pipe Bomb

A homemade cigar humidor seized at LaGuardia Airport. Photo via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

TSA screeners were in for a scare at LaGuardia Airport on Sunday when they spotted what appeared to be a pipe bomb inside a traveler’s carry-on luggage.  

Turns out, the nine-inch PVC pipe was a homemade cigar humidor. Along with the pipe where two torch-style lighters.  

When TSA officials opened the pipe, they found a half-smocked cigar.

But because the pipe “could too easily be perceived bu the flight crew and other passengers as a pipe bomb,” TSA officials said the Hopewell Junction, N.Y., resident could not board the plane with the humidor. 

 “Our TSA officers are vigilant about looking for explosive devices, and this certainly gave the impression that it could be a pipe bomb that someone was attempting to carry onto an aircraft,” Robert Duffy, TSA’s federal security director for LaGuardia Airport, said in a statement. “Fortunately it turned out not to be an explosive device, but had he pulled it out during his flight, it could have caused a panic. Replica weapons are not permitted on aircraft and this easily could have passed for an improvised explosive device. It was a good catch on the part of the officers who were staffing the checkpoint.”

TSA Prevents Traveler from Boarding Plane with Baby Shark Submerged in Liquid

Baby shark submerged in liquid. Photo via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

The TSA made a startling discovery at a security checkpoint at Syracuse International Airport.

A traveler with a dead baby shark in a jar of “unknown” liquid wanted to board a plane. 

The shark, it appears, wasn’t the problem. It was the liquid in the jar. 

TSA prevented the man from boarding the plane with baby Jaws.

“Due to the chemical nature of and quantity of the liquid, it was not allowed on the plane,” TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein posted on Twitter on Sunday, along with a photo of the shark.

Travelers also are prohibited from boarded a plane with more than 3.4 ounces of bottled liquid, which must be packed in a quart-sized bag.