Diligent TSA Officers Use Training, New Technology and Instincts at SJU To Uncover Fraudulent Identification and Criminal Behavior

The IDs looked like licenses from one state but the embedded features were from other states.
Local Press Release
Tuesday, December 29, 2020

San Juan, Puerto Rico – New technology and diligent TSA employees at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport led to the arrest of three and the deportation of three others recently. 

TSA officers in San Juan used the new Credential Authentication Technology (CAT), which automatically verifies identification documents presented by passengers at the checkpoint, to confirm if the traveler’s IDs are legitimate or fraudulent. Training, experience, technology and good gut instincts led two TSA employees to partner with CBP before the travelers could flee the security checkpoint. The individuals were wanted on drug charges. They were attempting to use fraudulent identification to create false identities and evade law enforcement. TSA staff are trained on sophisticated technology such as the CAT machines and they are also trained in behavior detection.  Their training in detecting aberrant and suspicious behavioral cues combined with the CAT machines signaling alerts on the IDs led to the referrals to TSA’s law enforcement partners.

“This case demonstrates the value of our new technology and the value of our dedicated staff,” said TSA’s Federal Security Director for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Mariely Loperena. “Our officers will continue to carry-out our security mission using every tool available to them to safeguard our transportation system.”

When CAT is in use, passengers present only an ID to the TSA travel document checker at the entrance to the security checkpoint. CAT verifies the passenger’s identity while also confirming flight information and vetting status by cross-referencing it against the Secure Flight Database, all without a boarding pass.  The technology is another layer of security installed by the Transportation Security Administration at SJU and many airports across the United States. When the CAT alerted the officers of a problem, they then used other tools to discover the reason for the alert.  The face of the licenses to an untrained eye seemed legitimate but further investigation showed one state on the front of the licenses while the barcode and other embedded features showed a conflicting state in each case.