Four Discoveries and Three Arrests in 12 Hours at Tampa

June 10, 2008

Within a period of only 12 hours, Tampa transportation security officers discovered two loaded firearms, two sets of brass knuckles, and a throwing star while screening passengers at the checkpoint.

On June 4, TSO Michelle Albert was operating an X-ray machine and saw what turned out to be a loaded .22-caliber revolver. The gun's owner, an off-duty Florida police officer, was interviewed by law enforcement and allowed to travel after surrendering the firearm. An investigation is ongoing.

Two hours later, working the X-ray, TSO Jose Diaz discovered two sets of brass knuckles in a passenger's purse. The woman, from Tampa, was charged with two counts of possessing a concealed weapon.

Then, TSO Philip Hawkins was operating an X-ray machine and found a loaded .32-caliber semi-automatic pistol in a passenger's carry-on luggage. The Riverview, Fla., man was charged with violating his concealed weapons permit.

In the final incident, TSO Denise Smith discovered a 2.5-inch throwing star in a passenger's carry-on bag. A Clearwater, Fla., woman was charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

"The performance of these four officers is an example of the hardworking, professional and well-trained TSOs working not only in Tampa, but at airports nationwide," said Federal Security Director Gary Milano.

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