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Press Release

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Man Who Flew Into Birmingham Airport And Attempted To Fly Out Under Assumed Names

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM -- A man who flew into the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport under an assumed name on March 16 now faces a federal grand jury indictment for violating airport security and presenting false identification documents, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr.

The three-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges ROBERT ANTHONY RICKS, 30, with the felonies of entering an airport area in violation of security requirements, and with using someone else's identification to illegally enter an aircraft or secure airport area. The indictment also charges Ricks with entering a secure airport area by false pretenses, a misdemeanor.

Ricks was arrested at the airport and initially charged in a federal complaint under the name Robert Quran Hick. His indictment lists that name, along with four others, as aliases. The other aliases included are Robert Harris, Quran Kendrick, Sage Malik and Wise. The investigation is ongoing and Ricks' last place of residence has not been confirmed.

Count 1 of the indictment charges that Ricks got off Delta Flight 1535 in Birmingham and entered the "secure and sterile area of the terminal" under the identity of "U.W." Thereafter, he assumed the identity of another person, identified in the indictment by the initials, M.M. A March 17 FBI affidavit supporting Ricks' arrest complaint identifies Flight 1535 as flying to Birmingham from Atlanta.

Count 2 of the indictment, the misdemeanor, charges that Ricks attempted to go through security screening at the Birmingham airport using a boarding pass in the name of M.M.

Count 3 charges that Ricks illegally possessed a document identifying him as M.M. and intended to use the document to enter an aircraft or a secure airport area.

According to the arrest affidavit, Ricks obtained United Airlines boarding passes from Birmingham to Chicago, and from Chicago to Colorado Springs by telling a United representative in Birmingham that he was M.M. Ricks made the claim at a United boarding gate after hearing a public address system message for M.M.

Hicks was arrested after he left the secure area of the Birmingham airport, twice tried to re-enter the area by going up the down escalator, and then tried to go through a Transportation Security Agency checkpoint using one of the United boarding passes, according to the arrest affidavit.

The affidavit also reports that Ricks provided a false name and birth date to the FBI agent who interviewed him when he was arrested.

The maximum penalty for entering an airport area in violation of security requirements is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine; and the maximum penalty for possessing false identification documents with the intent to use them illegally is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The misdemeanor charge of entering a secure airport area by false pretenses carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The FBI investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Holt is prosecuting.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent and it is the government's responsibility to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated March 19, 2015