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TSA Week in Review: Thousands of Ecstasy Pills Concealed in Passenger’s Undergarments

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Friday, March 16, 2012
Ecstasy Drugs, Knives, nunchucks.

Grenade Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army

Pure Ecstasy: A passenger underwent a pat-down after opting out of the body scanner at Los Angeles (LAX). During the pat-down, our officer came across a bulky area and the passenger insisted it was nothing out of the ordinary. Nah, there’s nothing out of the ordinary about 1000 - 2000 hits of ecstasy in your undergarments, right? We’re not looking for drugs, but until we figure out what the item is, we have to assume it could be dangerous. When we find narcotics, we have to report them. Simple solution... Don’t bring them on a plane.

40mm High Explosive Dual Purpose Projectile (Grenade): You can imagine the surprisewhen an officer at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) discovered a grenade in a carry-on bag. We find a lot of inert grenades, but this time it was the real deal. While it was a dangerous piece of live military ordnance, there was no nefarious intent.It was a soldier who made a mistake and in the end, no charges were filed.

Interesting Firearm: A pistol was found at Mobile (MOB). It’s a revolver that can shoot both .45 rounds and .410 shotgun shells. Nothing good can come from a pistol in the close quarters cabin of a plane that fires shot. (See photo)

Body Scanner Find: A passenger at Denver (DEN) stepped up to one of our body scanners while wearing a belt buckle knife. We found it. Oh, we found his multi-tool knife too.

More Examples of What not to say at the Checkpoint: These are all examples from this week of how to inconvenience yourself and others at a TSA checkpoint.

  • LaGuardia (LGA) Passenger stated: “I have a torpedo in my brassiere.” (Obviously, they didn’t have a torpedo in their brassiere.)
  • Las Vegas (LAS) Passenger asked: “Why are you harassing this innocent woman when you just let me through with a tube of plastic explosives?” (They didn’t have a tube of plastic explosives.)

A Brush With Death II: You saw the first Brush With Death here, and now it’s back! This time at Phoenix (PHX).What looks like an ordinary everyday hairbrush pulls apart to reveal a molded plastic implement of death.Hair beware!

Very Kind Words: A member of the Families of September 11 gave this card to one of our Officers at Laguardia (LGA).

Screenshot of Families 0f 9/11 Letter.

Concealed Items: A razor, a small saw blade, and a garrote were detected under a sewn-on patch in a carry-on bag at Norfolk (ORF). Sounds like the beginning of a joke: “So, this razor, a saw blade, and a garrote walk into a bar...”

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items: In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also found firearm components, a shocking amount of stun guns, brass knuckles, a plethora of knives, ammunition, and batons.

6 loaded firearms.

Firearms: Here are the firearms our Officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday.

19 firearms discovered. 16 were loaded.

You can travel with your firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline. You can go here for more details on how to properly travel with your firearms. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.

Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds. Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the throughput is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home. Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions, that's for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items.

Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.


Submitted by Christine Mae Engcoy on

This post is very informative regarding the rights and law of the land.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Even if you have your own plane you still can get searched. It's bull, a privilege, have you ever heard of the soviet union.

Submitted by Truthspeaker on

Really? You're bragging about finding Ecstasy pills? What the hell is wrong with you?

Submitted by Truthspeaker on

Since you had no way of knowing that those pills were illegal drugs, you should have immediately handed them back to the passenger and wished him a nice day.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What happened 9/1? I guess I did forget...

Submitted by Juliana Paul on

Police and customs officers from 81 countries have seized 2.4 million doses of counterfeit medicine sold over the Internet during a one-week operation, international police body Interpol said Thursday. Fifty-five people were arrested during the September 20-27 operation, codenamed Pangea 4, and more than 13,000 websites closed down, Interpol said. More than 100,000 illegal doses were seized in France, over half of which were for supposed to be for treating male erection problems, France's medical security agency that took part in the operation, AFSSAPS, said. The operation was carried out for the fourth successive year in an effort to inform the public about the risks of buying medicines online.