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Iced Tea Proves to be 'Acidic'

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Each and every day, our officers discover a variety of prohibited items, most of them routine in nature. But sometimes a "good catch" really stands out, speaking volumes about the great work our Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) are doing.

On Aug. 4 at Long Beach (Calif.) Daugherty Field Airport, a supposedly factory-sealed, plastic-wrapped case of 12 ice tea bottles alarmed the CTX Explosive Detection Systems (EDS), requiring a physical inspection from a TSO. Closely scrutinizing the bottles, he determined they had been tampered with.

Some were unusually heavy and many contained a very dark liquid - so dark that it would not typically be recognized as ice tea. The TSO then used an Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) machine – and the reading came back positive for nitroglycerin. The Long Beach Airport Safety Office and the Long Beach Police Department were notified and quickly responded.

It was determined that the bottles were full of a substance called purple haze – a type of LSD also known as “acid.” As it turns out, the case of tea belonged to one passenger, but her travelling companion took responsibility. Long Beach Police charged him with transportation of a narcotic or controlled substance.

"It was just textbook," said Charisse Still, TSA Training Coordinator at the airport. "Our officers did exactly what they were supposed to do to mitigate the threat."

"We're very proud of our TSOs and our Supervisory TSOs. They are dynamic individuals and have some real talent," said Federal Security Director Nancy Baggott. "I would definitely expect this type of performance."