MARCH 08, 2007
A pair of baggage handlers at a major U.S. airport used their employee uniform and identification to smuggle guns and drugs onto a commercial flight and one of the men admitted he had done it several times in the past.
Officials with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the 43,000-member federal agency that supposedly protects the nation’s transportation systems, downplayed the major security breach by focusing on the fact that no one got hurt.
The fact remains, however, that two men cruised through restricted areas of the Orlando Florida airport and successfully avoided security screeners to board a Delta flight to Puerto Rico with an arsenal of weapons and drugs. TSA officials refuse to address the serious security violation, instead reiterating that no passengers were ever in danger.
One of the smugglers, Zabdiel Santiago Balaguer, told federal agents that he had delivered drugs and guns to Puerto Rico several times in the past. The dealers wired cash which he then used to purchase the goods that he later transported to the island. The other smuggler, Anthony Munoz, was actually carrying the loaded duffel bag after the flight arrived in Puerto Rico when he got arrested. It contained 13 handguns, an assault rifle and eight pounds of marijuana.
The men’s lucrative drug and arms business would have gone uninterrupted if not for the fact that the local police department received an anonymous tip. It was only then that federal transportation officials discovered the ongoing ring.
Americans deserve better protection from federal transportation officials. This kind of repeated breach of airport security certainly leaves the country vulnerable to another horrific terrorist attack similar to September 11.
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