February 17, 2011
Following an admission of guilt in federal court earlier this week from a TSA supervisor, two more TSA agents based at a completely different airport have been arrested for stealing thousands of dollars in cash from the luggage of travelers, while another was arrested and fired for seriously assaulting a co-worker in a dispute over a parking space.
Two TSA workers, identified as Persad Coumar and Davon Webb, were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of having stolen around $40,000 in cash from a bag that was checked through a security line at John F. Kennedy Airport, reports CNN and Reuters.
The agents discovered the money while viewing the bag inside an x-ray machine, according to the reports. The bag was said to have contained $170,000 in cash, the origin of which is now being investigated.
After a colleague reported the incident, the $40,000 was recovered from the homes of Coumar and Web who will now face up to seven years in prison on charges of third-degree grand larceny, fifth-degree conspiracy, third-degree criminal possession of stolen property and official misconduct, according to the district attorney’s office.
The two workers are also suspected of having previously stolen valuables from luggage worth up to $160,000, according to police with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The TSA admits that in the last three years alone there have been 12 similar cases of thefts involving the removal of valuables and/or cash from baggage. These are just the ones that have been reported.
The latest case comes just days after a TSA supervisor at the ironically titled Newark Liberty Airport pleaded guilty in a federal court to multiple counts of theft, as well as admitting to taking bribes and kickbacks from another TSA worker to “look the other way”, while the agent he was supervising stole more money from travelers.
Michael Arato faces a maximum potential sentence of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for stealing up to $700 per day from passengers for eight years.
Arato also allowed another worker to steal up to $30,000 in cash from traveller’s bags over a 13-month period, pocketing a share of the ill gotten gains himself. The court heard that the pair specifically targeted foreign travelers, mostly Indian women, who could not speak English and discussed how they should not feel bad about stealing from them because they were leaving the U.S. with “our money”.
Meanwhile in another completely separate case, Indianapolis TSA employee Michael Merriman was arrested on a battery charge for allegedly repeatedly punching another airport worker after he pulled into a parking space in front of Merriman.
Brian Hale told police that Merriman approached the driver’s side door of his car, shook an angry fist at him and said, “You’ll never do that to me again”, before striking Hale.
“Mr. Hale was put in a headlock and punched approximately six times in the face,” the police report read. “Mr. Hale was able to press the panic button on his car’s remote key fob, which he feels caused Mr. Merriman to stop the attack and run back to his truck.”
The incident was verified by another airport employee and Merriman has now been fired by the TSA.
“TSA is aware of the incident but does not tolerate violence by our employees” said Jonella Culmer in a written statement. “The individual involved is no longer employed by the agency.”
Of course it is no surprise to hear of another TSA worker slipping over the edge in this manner.
Take, for instance, the agent who flipped out and began screaming, “I am god, I’m in charge,” shortly after he got off duty at LAX last year.
Some TSA workers are clearly taking the ego power trip they get from pushing around members of the public beyond their security lines and out into the wider world.
These are just the latest example in a long history of cases indicating that TSA workers are prone to criminal behavior. They are certainly not isolated incidents.
TSA workers have also been caught stealing laptop computers, stealing luggage with thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, sabotaging sensitive screening databases, and joking about planting drugs on travelers.
TSA agents are also prone to predatory crimes, particularly targeting women and children, emphasizing once again why they are attracted to jobs that allow them to sexually molest and ogle vulnerable members of society.
Aside from the hundreds of stories of forcefully groping travelers, exposing breasts, removing sanitary towels from vaginas, and openly lauding over an imagined authority to target attractive women for enhanced screening, there have also been scores of even more unsavoury cases.
“A TSA employee based at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport tried to kill himself after allegedly abducting a woman, sexually assaulting her then giving her a suicide note to deliver,” reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last November.
49-year-old Randall Scott King kidnapped the woman after she had accompanied him from the airport. Whether or not King abused his power as a TSA officer to make the woman accompany him is still being investigated by police. Further investigation by WTSB-TV revealed that King had previously spent time in jail for stalking and harassment.
Back in March it emerged that TSA worker Sean Shanahan, who was employed at Boston Logan International Airport to pat down passengers, had been charged with multiple child sex crimes targeting an underage girl.
Similarly, 57-year-old Charles Henry Bennett, who worked at Orlando International Airport as a TSA screener, was arrested in connection with the molestation of a 6-year-old girl whom he planned to make his “sex slave”.
In December, yet another TSA worker, Andrew Cheever, was exposed as a pedophile when more than 10,000 child porn videos and images were discovered on his computer.
Cheever’s penchant for looking at naked pictures of children was undoubtedly a perk of the job when he applied to become a TSA screener, given the fact that body scanner images show intricate details of a person’s genitalia.
Working in airport security seems to attract perverts, rapists and pedophiles because it gives them legitimate cover through which to exercise their deviancy. Indeed, a prank caller who pretended to be a sex pervert phoned the TSA about applying for a job and was treated seriously by a TSA staffer.
Stories about TSA officials and other airport security workers abusing the use of naked body scanners have also become commonplace.
44-year-old Rolando Negrin beat his supervisor with a police baton after he had cracked jokes about Negrin’s small manhood when he walked through a naked scanner as part of a training exercise at Miami International Airport. The story underscored the fact that authorities had been lying all along about the claim that the scanners did not show sensitive details of genitalia.
Indian film star Shahrukh Khan told a BBC talk show that naked images of his body from the scanner were printed out and circulated by airport staff at Heathrow in London. Heathrow denied the claim but Khan himself never retracted the story, and had no apparent motive for making it up.
Heathrow authorities were unable to deny a later example of the scanners being abused, when it emerged that a Heathrow worker had perved over a naked image of a female colleague after she passed through one of the devices, before commenting, “I love those gigantic tits”.
Jo Margetson, 29, reported John Laker, 25, to the police after she had entered the x-ray machine by mistake and Laker took the image before making lewd comments.
In addition to the gross violation of privacy that comes with the machines, such incidents have prompted lawmakers to introduce legislation that would see misuse of body scanner images punishable by prison sentences and/or $100, 000 fines.
Airport security staff workers are among the least trustworthy people to operate these machines. Such individuals are routinely caught abusing their authority for their own ego trip or sexual perversion.
The TSA is a complete joke – while perverts and pedophiles are busy groping your children and ogling over their naked body scanner image, people with loaded guns are breezing through security while others are hiding in the wheels of Boeing 737′s.
The fact that the most deviant, perverted, megalomaniacal and criminally-minded dregs of society are attracted to TSA pat down jobs tells you everything you need to know about the nature of the Transportation Security Administration and how its role has nothing to do with preventing terrorism and everything to do with ritualizing the degradation and humiliation of the American people.
In addition, the fact that scores of TSA workers have now been caught stealing huge amounts of cash and valuables from passengers also underscores how armies of degenerates are being employed by the federal government and given the authority to push around and dominate members of the public going about their daily business.
We have even seen how airports have literally become stake out locations for police on the look out for criminals.
The TSA has repeatedly claimed that the “disgraceful” actions of some of it’s workers should not reflect on some 50,000 employees, yet that is difficult to swallow, given the sheer number of incidents involving TSA workers that are being reported every day.
The ACLU recently reported that it was receiving record high volumes of complaints from members of the public concerning the actions of TSA workers, with some ready to pursue criminal charges.
States and local authorities across the country need to follow the example of New Jersey and introduce legislation immediately to kick the TSA out of airports and replace them with private security who are professionally trained and who are actually interested in stopping terrorists rather than stealing people’s belongings and exercising their sexual deviancy through groping children and ogling naked body scanner images. Of course, the TSA has made it clear that it will not go quietly, if this becomes more commonplace.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.net, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.
Paul Joseph Watson, editor of Prisonplanet.com, contributed research to this article.