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Old September 8th, 2009, 04:54 AM   #1
hkskyline
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MISC | Stowaways on the Plane

Ticket agents, baggage handler in US Virgin Islands charged with smuggling illegal migrants
4 September 2009

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - A federal grand jury in the U.S. Virgin Islands has indicted two ticket agent contractors who worked for Delta Airlines and an airport employee on charges of conspiracy to smuggle illegal immigrants into the U.S.

The ticket agents, identified as Diana Telemaque, 33, and Felicia Browne, 22, were arrested Thursday along with luggage handler Daniel Confidente.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Friday in a statement that the two agents allegedly sold tickets to illegal immigrants. All three are accused of helping an unspecified number of migrants bypass customs officials from May 2008 to July 2009.

It was not immediately clear whether the suspects had lawyers.

Delta spokeswoman Susan Chana Elliott said the contract employees, who were paid by another company, had been dismissed.

She added that the airline is cooperating with federal authorities and declined further comment.

Hundreds of illegal migrants attempt to enter the U.S. Caribbean territory each year; some hope to stay on the island, while others try to enter the mainland.

The suspects were released on $10,000 bail and face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
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Old August 30th, 2010, 08:38 PM   #2
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LAX mechanic charged with immigrant smuggling
13 September 2008

LOS ANGELES (AP) - An elevator mechanic at Los Angeles International Airport was charged Friday with smuggling illegal immigrants into the country by helping them evade federal inspectors and ushering them into taxis outside a terminal.

Roberto Amaya Canchola, 53, was indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts of making money off immigrant smuggling and three counts of helping passengers skirt immigration officers, said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Canchola was arrested last month by federal immigration agents in a sting operation after officials noticed several passengers on the same Mexicana Airlines flight from Guanajuato state each week did not appear to be passing through customs or immigration screenings.

Immigration agents say they believe Canchola was using his airport security clearance to escort passengers out of the terminal without being inspected by authorities. The passengers had boarded the plane in Mexico with fake documents, according to ICE.

An attempt to reach Canchola, a North Hills resident, was not successful.

Robert Schoch, special agent in charge for ICE's office of investigations in Los Angeles, said agents have been working with airport officials since the probe began to tighten security at the international terminal.

He also said the investigation into the smuggling network was ongoing.

"It is a tremendous vulnerability if you think about criminals to the worst extent, terrorists, anybody who could be brought in surreptitiously into this country. So we acted very decisively," Schoch said.

Canchola is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 22.
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 05:43 PM   #3
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Stowaways pose security risks
Breach has implications for terrorism

23 December 2010
USA Today

The bizarre case of a 16-year-old boy who died after sneaking aboard a US Airways jet by hiding in its wheel well highlights long- standing concerns about airport security and terrorism, say law enforcement officials and security experts.

Police initially suspected that Delvonte Tisdale, whose battered body was found Nov. 15 in a quiet suburban Boston neighborhood, had been murdered. But an investigation concluded that Tisdale somehow got onto the grounds of his hometown airport, Charlotte Douglas International, and climbed into the wheel well of a Boeing 737 bound for Boston.

Norfolk County (Mass.) District Attorney William Keating says not only did Tisdale's body and clothing land directly beneath the path of the jet in the area where pilots would have lowered the landing gear in preparation for landing, but investigators also found a palm print that they believe was his in the jet's wheel compartment.

Keating, who recently won a seat in Congress, says after he is sworn in next month that he intends to ask for a broader investigation into whether airport security is adequate to prevent terrorists getting access to planes.

"Aside from the tragedy, it was a serious breach of security at an airport," Keating says. "What if someone else had had a more sinister motive?"

Douglas Laird, a security consultant who formerly headed security at Northwest Airlines, says that the breach suggested multiple breakdowns in security.

First, Tisdale was able to sneak onto the airport grounds, which are surrounded by fencing topped by barbed wire. Many workers and vehicles come and go from an airport, but they are supposed to show identification at checkpoints.

Then, it is likely that Tisdale would have encountered airport employees while making his way to the plane during a busy early evening period, Laird says. Federal rules require airport workers to confront and challenge anyone they see on a tarmac without a security badge.

"It's very troublesome," Laird says of the incident. "In theory that shouldn't happen."

Most are international

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has counted 86 stowaways since 1947 -- not including Tisdale's case -- the vast majority of them since the late 1990s. Since 1996, there have been nearly five instances a year around the world.

Most are residents of poor nations who are trying to get to Europe or the USA. According to the FAA data, the only previous report that someone had stowed away in a wheel well at a U.S. airport was the 1972 case of a man who flew from San Diego to New York. His frozen body was found after the jet landed, says FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown.

However, Laird's experience suggests that the FAA may not know about every incident. While he was working at Northwest during the early 1990s, he investigated the case of a man who snuck into a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 at a U.S. airport. The case is not included in the FAA records.

Amazingly, a sizeable number of stowaways survive the experience, even though temperatures at cruising altitudes get as low as -85 degrees and the air is so thin it renders people unconscious.

Out of the 86 cases examined by the FAA, 18 people survived, a total of 21%. Two stowaways survived this year, including a 20-year- old Romanian man who flew from Vienna to London in July.

Those who survived lost so much body heat that they entered a kind of "hibernation" state, which prevented damage to the brain and other organs from the lack of oxygen, according to a 1993 paper by the FAA's Office of Aviation Medicine.

Intruders are rare

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department are investigating how Tisdale could have gotten aboard the jet. Neither agency has released any findings.

The TSA sets rules for airport security and reviews airport compliance, but it is the airport's responsibility to ensure intruders do not enter the airport grounds. TSA agents conduct thousands of random checks to ensure employees are vigilant about checking badges, spokeswoman Sterling Payne says.

The current chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and the incoming chairman, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., issued statements saying they are following the matter.

The Airports Council International-North America will work with the TSA "to examine and address any weaknesses" that emerge from the investigation, says the group's security chief, Chris Bidwell. He says such incidents are extremely rare at U.S. airports.

The jet with Tisdale aboard departed Charlotte at 7:16 p.m., according to the flight tracking website FlightAware, a relatively bustling time at the eighth-busiest airport in the country.

According to the 1993 FAA paper, the most common way people snuck into the wheel well was to wait near the runway for an aircraft to stop briefly. In the case that Laird investigated in the early 1990s, the stowaway stole a mechanic's uniform and walked to the plane as it sat near the terminal.

Keating says that investigators do not understand the teen's motive. One clue is that he participated in an Air Force ROTC program at his high school and may have been familiar with airports and aircraft, he says.

Keating says state troopers visited the Charlotte airport, but were leaving the matter of how the teen got onto the airport to the local police.
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Old December 24th, 2010, 08:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Stowaways pose security risks
Breach has implications for terrorism

23 December 2010
USA Today

The bizarre case of a 16-year-old boy who died after sneaking aboard a US Airways jet by hiding in its wheel well highlights long- standing concerns about airport security and terrorism, say law enforcement officials and security experts.

Police initially suspected that Heat Pad Delvonte Tisdale, whose battered body was found Nov. 15 in a quiet suburban Boston neighborhood, had been murdered. But an investigation concluded that Tisdale somehow got onto the grounds of his hometown airport, Charlotte Douglas International, and climbed into the wheel well of a Boeing 737 bound for Boston.

Norfolk County (Mass.) District Attorney William Keating says not only did Tisdale's body and clothing land directly beneath the path of the jet in the area where pilots would have lowered the landing gear in preparation for landing, but investigators also found a palm print that they believe was his in the jet's wheel compartment.

Keating, who recently won a seat in Congress, says after he is sworn in next month that he intends to ask for a broader investigation into whether airport security is adequate to prevent terrorists getting access to planes.

"Aside from the tragedy, it was a serious breach of security at an airport," Keating says. "What if someone else had had a more sinister motive?"

Douglas Laird, a security consultant who formerly headed security at Northwest Airlines, says that the breach suggested multiple breakdowns in security.

First, Tisdale was able to sneak onto the airport grounds, which are surrounded by fencing topped by barbed wire. Many workers and vehicles come and go from an airport, but they are supposed to show identification at checkpoints.

Then, it is likely that Tisdale would have encountered airport employees while making his way to the plane during a busy early evening period, Laird says. Federal rules require airport workers to confront and challenge anyone they see on a tarmac without a security badge.

"It's very troublesome," Laird says of the incident. "In theory that shouldn't happen."

Most are international

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has counted 86 stowaways since 1947 -- not including Tisdale's case -- the vast majority of them since the late 1990s. Since 1996, there have been nearly five instances a year around the world.

Most are residents of poor nations who are trying to get to Europe or the USA. According to the FAA data, the only previous report that someone had stowed away in a wheel well at a U.S. airport was the 1972 case of a man who flew from San Diego to New York. His frozen body was found after the jet landed, says FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown.

However, Laird's experience suggests that the FAA may not know about every incident. While he was working at Northwest during the early 1990s, he investigated the case of a man who snuck into a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 at a U.S. airport. The case is not included in the FAA records.

Amazingly, a sizeable number of stowaways survive the experience, even though temperatures at cruising altitudes get as low as -85 degrees and the air is so thin it renders people unconscious.

Out of the 86 cases examined by the FAA, 18 people survived, a total of 21%. Two stowaways survived this year, including a 20-year- old Romanian man who flew from Vienna to London in July.

Those who survived lost so much body heat that they entered a kind of "hibernation" state, which prevented damage to the brain and other organs from the lack of oxygen, according to a 1993 paper by the FAA's Office of Aviation Medicine.

Intruders are rare

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department are investigating how Tisdale could have gotten aboard the jet. Neither agency has released any findings.

The TSA sets rules for airport security and reviews airport compliance, but it is the airport's responsibility to ensure intruders do not enter the airport grounds. TSA agents conduct thousands of random checks to ensure employees are vigilant about checking badges, spokeswoman Sterling Payne says.

The current chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and the incoming chairman, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., issued statements saying they are following the matter.

The Airports Council International-North America will work with the TSA "to examine and address any weaknesses" that emerge from the investigation, says the group's security chief, Chris Bidwell. He says such incidents are extremely rare at U.S. airports.

The jet with Tisdale aboard departed Charlotte at 7:16 p.m., according to the flight tracking website FlightAware, a relatively bustling time at the eighth-busiest airport in the country.

According to the 1993 FAA paper, the most common way people snuck into the wheel well was to wait near the runway for an aircraft to stop briefly. In the case that Laird investigated in the early 1990s, the stowaway stole a mechanic's uniform and walked to the plane as it sat near the terminal.

Keating says that investigators do not understand the teen's motive. One clue is that he participated in an Air Force ROTC program at his high school and may have been familiar with airports and aircraft, he says.

Keating says state troopers visited the Charlotte airport, but were leaving the matter of how the teen got onto the airport to the local police.
Thanks for the news...
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Old August 10th, 2011, 05:59 PM   #5
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Man pleads guilty in LA to plane stowaway charge
Associated Press
10 August 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man accused of breaching layers of airport security by using an expired boarding pass with someone else's name to get aboard a cross-country flight pleaded guilty Tuesday to a stowaway charge.

Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi, 24, entered the plea in federal court and agreed to pay Virgin America for the cost of the flight from New York to Los Angeles.

Noibi faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 28.

Noibi was arrested on June 29 at Los Angeles International Airport after authorities determined he was using the expired boarding passes and presenting outdated student identification.

In response to a question from U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real, Noibi acknowledged that he had been under some kind of psychiatric care in 2010.

Deputy federal public defender Carl Gunn declined to answer reporters' questions about the psychiatric care and the outcome of the hearing.

While prosecutors did not find that terrorism applied in this case, the incident has raised questions about the effectiveness of screening procedures. Identity checks at airport security checkpoints were put into place as one of many new measures after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Investigators say Noibi boarded a flight at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on June 24 using someone else's expired boarding pass. The Virgin America crew didn't realize until mid-flight that an extra passenger was in a seat that was supposed to be empty.

An FBI agent interviewed Noibi upon arrival in Los Angeles but did not immediately arrest him.

An FBI affidavit said that several days later, Noibi was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport while trying to board a Delta Air Lines flight bound for Atlanta with another expired pass. Authorities say they found numerous expired boarding passes in his bag and Noibi was charged with being a stowaway on an aircraft.

Noibi told federal investigators that he was able to get through screening by presenting the expired boarding pass, University of Michigan student identification and a police report that his U.S. passport had been stolen. Noibi was enrolled at the Ann Arbor university between 2004 and 2006 as an engineering student but is not a current student.

Noibi acknowledged he did not pay for the Virgin America flight and said he had traveled to Los Angeles to recruit people for his software business, an affidavit said.

The Transportation Security Administration has said passengers are required to show a federal or state-issued photo ID to get through a checkpoint. Passengers who forget or lose their identification are allowed to fly if they provide information about their identity that can be substantiated. If cleared through that process, they can be subjected to additional screening.

Noibi has dual U.S. and Nigerian citizenship but has lived most of his life in Africa.

Noibi's attorney has previously said his client was extremely embarrassed about the incident and that his family was a "little freaked out" by the attention the incident has received.
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Old April 19th, 2012, 07:11 AM   #6
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Suspected stowaway sneaks by Pearson security
COLIN FREEZE
Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Apr. 17, 2012 1:00PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Apr. 17, 2012 10:58PM EDT
Excerpt

Authorities are investigating how a suspected stowaway snuck past Pearson International Airport’s security perimeter to board an international flight and allegedly hid inside a parked plane before being discovered by a dog team.

Officials call the alleged breach a “unique” and “alarming” event for Canada’s largest airport, which, like all North American airports, has implemented an array of invasive and expensive screening measures aimed at discovering whether passengers are stashing bombs in their water bottles, shoes or underwear.

The allegations also come as public-sector unions warn that the Conservative government’s job cuts to border guards and aviation screeners – including sniffer-dog teams – will jeopardize public safety at Canada’s airports and border crossings.

A man was arrested around 8:30 a.m. Monday inside a Copa Airlines 737 due to take off for Panama City an hour later.

Peel Regional Police have charged 33-year-old Trevor Kendall with mischief, breaking and entering into a plane, endangering the safety of the aircraft and obstructing police.

********************

Officials with Transport Canada and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority are investigating the alleged breach, which delayed the flight for more than four hours.

“This is something we take very seriously,” said Trish Krale, who works for the airport authority and called the allegations “unique.”

She said the man is suspected of getting onto the secure tarmac through the airport’s perimeter without passing through any terminal checkpoints.

Three years ago, Conservative cabinet minister John Baird was at the centre of a similar security breach.

Then Transport Minister, Mr. Baird stepped onto Pearson’s tarmac, having discovered an open point in the perimeter while touring the exterior of the facility under RCMP escort.

********************

After that 2009 security breach, Mr. Baird convened emergency meetings with GTAA officials, who assumed full responsibility and promised “immediate action” to plug the security gaps.

Mr. Baird admonished officials, saying they have to safeguard the entire airport perimeter, and not just “shake down” passengers in terminals.

“Look at the expense, time and energy we’ve put into shaking down passengers for their toothpaste and hair gel. I think we have to look at other priorities as well.”
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Old April 23rd, 2014, 05:59 PM   #7
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Airline says teenager survived flight over Pacific in jet wheel well

April 21 (Reuters) - A teenaged boy has survived a flight from California to Hawaii in the wheel well of a jetliner, an airline said on Sunday.

The 16-year-old, who was not identified, was spotted by airline personnel after Hawaiian Airlines flight 45 landed in Maui on Sunday morning on a flight from San Jose, California, the airline said. The workers then notified security.

FBI officials confirmed that the boy had traveled from San Jose to Maui in the plane's wheel well, the airline said. The flying time from San Jose to Hawaii is more than five hours.

Hawaiian Airlines had no information about how the boy had managed to survive at an altitude of tens of thousands of feet that jets on that route over the Pacific typically fly at.

"Our primary concern now is for the well-being of the boy, who is exceptionally lucky to have survived," Hawaiian Airlines said in a statement, adding it and its contractors in San Jose were "ready to assist various government agencies in their investigation of this incident."
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