Man Arrested at Airport For Allegedly Hiding Gun, Ammunition in Bandages and Soap

A man was arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday when Transportation Security Administration officers allegedly found a handgun wrapped in a bandage and ammunition stored in a hollowed-out bar of soap in his checked bag.

TSA officials noted the man is a Chester, Pennsylvania, resident who claimed a deceased relative gave him the gun. He said was taking it to Lagos, Nigeria.

According to the TSA website, people may travel with firearms and ammunition, but there are specific guidelines they must follow.

"You may transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage only," the website states. "Declare the firearm and/or ammunition to the airline when checking your bag at the ticket counter."

Those who are traveling with firearms are expected to abide by local, state and international laws concerning possession of firearms. The website noted that bringing an unloaded firearm with accessible ammunition to the security checkpoint will be treated just as bringing a loaded firearm to the checkpoint.

Port Authority police arrested the man on a weapons charge when he was asked to return to a check-in counter.

"In addition to screening carry-on bags, TSA officers also screen all checked baggage before it is permitted to be loaded onto an airplane," Thomas Carter, the TSA's federal security director for New Jersey, said. "This was a good catch on the part of our officers."

A spokesperson with TSA told Newsweek the number of firearms detected differ each year and by the airport. Specifically, officers at Newark Liberty International Airport detected 12 firearms at security checkpoints this year.

A representative with Port Authority Police Police Department said the man was transferred and processed in Essex County, New Jersey.

Newark Gun and Ammo
A handgun was allegedly wrapped inside a bandage and ammunition was found in a hollowed-out bar of soap. A man was arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport after these items were found in his possession by TSA officials. Photo Courtesy of Transportation Security Administration

This is not the first instance a gun was found in a traveler's bag.

Newsweek reported in November of an unintentional discharge of a gun at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia.

Rumors swirled there was an active shooter in the building, but airport officials confirmed the discharge was "accidental."

"There is not an active shooter," officials with the Atlanta airport tweeted. "There was an accidental discharge at the Airport. There is no danger to passengers or employees."

Photos and videos surfaced on social media that showed people in the airport on the floor and looking for places to hide throughout the building.

Kenny Wells, the man accused of accidentally firing the gun in his bag, turned himself in, Newsweek reported. He was pulled aside for an additional search after a "prohibited item" was screened.

When the shot was fired, Wells fled with the gun and put it into a trashcan before he left the airport. Authorities found it a few days later.

TSA Screening
Officials at Newark Liberty International Airport allegedly found a gun and ammunition in a passenger's checked baggage earlier this week. Above, a TSA worker screens luggage at LaGuardia Airport. Spencer Platt/Getty Images