Florida Man Bypasses Airport Security By Pretending to Be Marine Ahead of Donald Trump's Departure, Police Say

A convicted sex offender was arrested after he bypassed airport security in Florida by pretending to be a Marine just before President Donald Trump was due to depart, authorities said.

The Palm Beach Post reported that Brandon Mark Magnan, 37, turned up at Palm Beach International Airport on Sunday afternoon and lied about being an active member of the U.S. Marine Corps to get past presidential security checkpoints.

According to a criminal complaint, Magnan was in a Honda Pilot when he bypassed two security checkpoints that are usually manned by U.S. Secret Service members and deputies from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office at around 3 p.m., around an hour before Trump was due to fly.

The newspaper reported that both times, Magnan allegedly said he was a member of the Marine Corps helicopter squadron and flashed fake Marine Corps seals and managed to get onto the grounds of Atlantic Aviation, where Marine One and Air Force One are kept when the president stays at Mar-a-Lago, his private resort and golf club.

But a sheriff's deputy alerted a member of the helicopter squadron after noticing Magnan wasn't wearing his Marine Corps uniform—something that is standard during presidential travel, the Post reported. The helicopter squadron member revealed Magnan's credentials were fake based on several factors, according to the complaint.

Magnan allegedly claimed to be a retired member of the squadron, but it then emerged that he had actually been dishonorably discharged after being convicted at a Court Martial for "serious offenses," the complaint said.

Magnan, of Naples, Florida, was convicted of charges including abusive sexual conduct and sodomy in 2010, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He has been a registered sex offender in Florida since then.

According to the Post, three lance corporals testified at Magnan's military trial that they had woken up in Magnan's house or a hotel room after the Marine Corps ball to discover their pants had been taken off or Magnan was sexually assaulting them.

The Post reported that Magnan was arrested on Sunday and charged with false impersonation of an officer or employee of the United States. He faces a maximum of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted, according to the newspaper.

Brandon Magnan
Brandon Mark Magnan was arrested after he bypassed airport security in Florida by pretending to be a Marine just before President Donald Trump was due to depart, authorities said. Florida Department of Law Enforcement

The incident comes two months after a Chinese woman was jailed after trespassing at Mar-a-Lago. Businesswoman Yujing Zhang, 33, was sentenced to eight months in prison in November after being caught trespassing at the resort in March last year.

Police arrested another Chinese woman, 56-year-old Lu Jing, last month after she was reported to be trespassing and taking pictures at Mar-a-Lago, The Miami Herald reported.

The White House declined to comment on the incident, referring the matter to the U.S. Secret Service. The U.S. Secret Service and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office have been contacted for comment.