Feds: Indianapolis Cargo Not Screened For Explosives

INDIANAPOLIS -- A company charged with screening airport cargo for explosives in Indianapolis failed to do so, resulting in the company agreeing to pay a $1 million fine, the U.S. attorney's office said Wednesday.

OHL Solutions, formerly known as ActivAir, had employees that "engaged in a systemic pattern of record-keeping violations by failing to properly screen for explosives 100 percent of air cargo as required by their security program," U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett said in a news release.

"When it comes to national security, there is no room for error, and we have no tolerance for shortcuts," Hogsett said.

The New York-based company committed the violations before December 2010, Transportation Security Administration officials said.

Investigators said the company's workers certified that cargo that wound up on passenger airplanes had been screened.

The settlement is the largest regulatory fine ever assessed by the TSA against a cargo company that intentionally violated security requirements, the U.S. attorney's office said. The Department of Justice was also involved in the investigation.

"This case sends a strong message that premeditated skirting of TSA security measures can lead to serious consequences for both individual employees and the corporations that employ them," Hogsett said.

Andrew Barnes, 32, Brian Vanhandel, 31 and Mitchell Totty, 26, all of Indianapolis, agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit federal reporting and record-keeping violations, officials said.

As part of the 9/11 Commission Act, all of cargo transported on passenger planes must be screened for explosives as of August 2010. A certified cargo screening program was set up to aid in this process.

ActivAir had been certified as a screener in 2009.

"ActivAir has acknowledged the serious nature of the misconduct that occurred in its Indianapolis branch office, offered its complete cooperation in connection with the TSA investigation, and accepted full responsibility for the actions of its employees," said Frank Eichler, vice president and general counsel for OHL Solutions, Inc. "ActivAir?s management recognizes the importance of TSA security measures and has taken decisive action to prevent the recurrence of the compliance failures discovered at its Indianapolis branch office."

The U.S. attorney's office said Barnes, Vanhandel and Totty face a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

 

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