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Press Release

Cargo company fined for failing to screen for explosives

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

HOUSTON – A Texas company operating in Harris County has been ordered to pay a significant penalty after admitting they failed to comply with regulations regarding proper screening of cargo through Bush International Airport (IAH), announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Air Cargo Screening & Solutions LLC (ACSS) pleaded guilty June 7, 2022, admitting they made material false statements in relation to the proper screening of air cargo for explosives on commercial flights.

Today. U.S. District Judge Charles D. Eskridge ordered them to pay a $415,508.16 fine which included the profits for the screenings they did not conduct. The company will also be on probation for five years. At the hearing, the court noted these screening procedures were put in place after 9-11 to provide for the safety and security of passengers and air cargo and that ACSS had violated this trust.

“Checking packages for explosives, packages destined for aircraft carrying passengers, is vital to saving lives and protecting the national security,” said Hamdani. “Whether through significant fines or federal prison time, we will pursue those charged with such security who knowingly shirk that duty. Put simply, companies must answer for potentially putting lives and the nation at risk.”

The Aviation and Transpiration Security Act, passed two months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, mandates the screening for explosives on cargo transported on passenger aircraft. To meet these requirements, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) established guidelines to certify facilities in the United States that screen cargo prior to tendering it to passenger aircraft.

Pursuant to this program, ACSS screened air cargo for domestic and foreign air carriers that traveled through IAH. However, a comparison of records from explosive trace detection machines and forms ACSS employees completed showed that ACSS falsified records, claiming they had screened 100 percent of the cargo passing through their facility when, in truth, they had not.

TSA conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Schammel prosecuted the case.

Updated April 20, 2023