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Press Release

Lakeland Man Pleads Guilty To Bringing Loaded Firearm Into Tampa International Airport Terminal

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Abraham Othman Yacoub (26, Lakeland) has pleaded guilty to one count of violating airport security requirements and one count of attempted possession of a dangerous weapon on an aircraft. Yacoub faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison on each count. He has also agreed to forfeit the Glock 19 and assorted ammunition, which are traceable to proceeds of the offense. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to court documents, on August 4, 2023, Yacoub arrived at Tampa International Airport to board a flight to Las Vegas, Nevada. He entered the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening line and placed his backpack, shoes, and other personal items into a TSA bin before proceeding through TSA screening.

TSA electronically screened Yacoub’s items with an x-ray machine and observed a firearm inside of Yacoub’s bag. While TSA officers were attempting to locate the bag containing the firearm, Yacoub took his bag from the conveyor belt and proceeded to the nearest men’s restroom. Once in the restroom, Yacoub removed the firearm from his backpack, wrapped it in toilet paper, and hid it in a trash can.

A short time later, Yacoub exited the restroom and returned to the TSA screening area, still holding his backpack, where he was met by a TSA officer. TSA officers rescreened Yacoub’s backpack and questioned Yacoub, who lied to TSA officers and told them that he had not brought a firearm into the airport. The airport terminal was evacuated of passengers, delaying numerous flights. Officers from the Tampa International Airport Police Department (TIA PD) responded to the screening area, questioned Yacoub, and searched the restroom that Yacoub had entered. Inside the trash can in the handicap stall, TSA  and TIA PD officers located a black firearm partially wrapped in toilet paper with fourteen 9mm rounds of ammunition inside a magazine and loaded into the gun.

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Rules and Regulations for Tampa International Airport state that “[n]o person except those persons authorized by law may carry a firearm or concealed weapon inside the passenger terminal and sterile areas of the airport….” Further, the airport has clearly posted no-firearms signs at the entry of every airport security line. 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Tampa International Airport Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karyna Valdes.

Updated April 11, 2024

National Security