Two Men Ordered to Pay $1000 Fines for Bringing Loaded Firearms Into Inspection Area in Albuquerque Airport
ALBUQUERQUE – Yesterday a United States Magistrate Judge entered orders in two cases that require two men to pay $1000.00 fines and to abandon their firearms for attempting to board airplanes at the Albuquerque International Sunport in Albuquerque, N.M., with loaded firearms in their carry-on luggage.
Matthew T. O’Conner, 51, of Los Angeles, Calif., and Todd A. Bourgeois, 32, of Albuquerque, N.M., each entered into an Agreement and Consent Order in separate cases to resolve alleged criminal and civil violations of federal laws that prohibit individuals from possessing firearms on their persons or accessible property when entering inspection areas in airports or boarding airplanes.
Court filings reflect that on Nov. 14, 2013, O’Connor was issued a criminal misdemeanor citation after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers found a Jennings J-22 firearm loaded with six rounds of .22 caliber ammunition in his luggage during the security inspection process. Bourgeois was issued a criminal misdemeanor citation on Dec. 2, 2013, after TSA officers found a Glock-19 firearm loaded with 15 rounds of 9 mm ammunition in his luggage, including a round that was chambered, when inspecting his carry-on luggage. Bourgeois’ firearm was not hidden but instead was packed at the top of an outer pouch of his carry-on luggage. Neither O’Connor nor Bourgeois was prohibited by law from possessing firearms when they were cited.
In separate Agreements and Consent Orders filed today, O’Connor and Bourgeois each admitted violating the civil regulatory prohibition against possessing firearms in airport security inspection areas or while boarding an airplane. Each man agreed to pay a $1000 fine and voluntarily abandon his firearm to resolve the misdemeanor charge and avoid further civil penalties arising from his violation.
“These two cases are part of an ongoing effort to address security challenges at airports in New Mexico as weapon seizures at airports continue to increase,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough. “Hopefully, cases like this will increase public awareness of federal laws and regulations that prohibit possession of weapons, explosives and incendiary devices at airports and on planes and help ensure safe air travel.”
“TSA officers at Albuquerque International Sunport recovered 17 guns from passengers at security checkpoints in 2012 and 12 guns were detected during screening in 2013,” said TSA Albuquerque Federal Security Director George Andler. “TSA continues to educate travelers on the importance of knowing what they’ve packed, both for their safety and the safety of their fellow travelers.” Director Andler also noted that “simple rules for traveling with firearms can be found on our website (www.tsa.gov), including packing the gun in a secure, locked box in your checked bag and declaring it to your airline at check-in.”
These two cases were investigated by TSA with assistance from the Albuquerque Aviation Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Pflugrath represented the United States in the judicial proceedings.