TSA Explosives Expert Stops Suspicious Item From Reaching Flight at JFK Airport

A pair of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers are being credited with preventing a potentially “tragic outcome” at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport earlier this month.

According to a release published Wednesday, officers discovered an unusual suspicious item inside of a passenger’s carry-on bag eventually determined to be two large electronics wired to a tampered power source.

Officers called in a TSA explosives expert who examined the item and deemed the power component hazardous due to multiple exposed lithium batteries.

The passenger claimed he constructed a solar panel wired to the batteries to power his device because it’s difficult to find batteries in the country he was traveling to. He ultimately agreed to voluntarily leave the altered batteries with TSA, which disposed of them safely.

“This type of incident demonstrates the skill of our TSA officers in identifying possible dangerous items that could potentially cause a catastrophic event,” said John Essig, TSA’s Deputy Federal Security Director for the airport, in a statement. “We saw critical thinking on the part of two TSA officers in knowing that the components of the device they detected could have resulted in a tragic outcome and contacting one of our explosives experts to confirm their suspicions. This was a good catch and goes to the point that our workforce is skilled at identifying prohibited items and items that should not be carried onto aircraft.”

This month’s critical discovery at JFK comes just after Custom and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Miami International Airport prevented nearly $500,000 in unreported currency hidden in furniture from being smuggled out of the United States.

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