TSA blames police in smuggling snafu

Lack of communication between Orlando, Fla., police and federal officials enabled an airline employee to smuggle weapons on onto airliner, a report says.

The report, issued by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, blamed the Orlando Police Department for a security beach in which an employee of Delta Airlines subsidiary Comair was able to smuggle 14 guns and eight pounds of marijuana aboard a March 2007 flight from Orlando to San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA Today reported Friday.

TSA officials say that while police arrested one worker connected to the smuggling after receiving a tip before the flight departed, the one carrying the contraband, Comair employee Thomas Munoz, remained aboard as the flight took off. Police realized the error only after the plane had left, and Munoz was arrested when the plane landed in Puerto Rico.

TSA officials said they never would have allowed the plane to leave without subjecting all passengers to additional screening checks and thoroughly searching the craft had they known of the incident, USA Today reported. They also blamed Delta for not alerting the TSA.

Munoz and the second Comair employee, Zabdiel Balaguer, are serving prison terms for weapons and drug charges.


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