TSA security finds missile launcher at BWI airport in Texas man’s checked bag

An unloaded missile launcher a Texas man attempted to bring home from Kuwait.

BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport officials detained a Texas man after an unloaded missile launcher was found in his checked bag.

The man, of Jacksonville, Texas, was tracked down by airport police after Transportation Security Administration officers found the missile launcher in his bag. It was not loaded or a “live device," but he was detained for questioning, officials said.


Military weapons are not permitted in checked or carry-on bags, but also not illegal, said Lisa Farbstein, TSA spokeswoman.

The man told security he was active duty military and was bringing home the launcher — complete with two stickers including one that reads “Griffin Missile” — from Kuwait.


The man was not arrested and was allowed to catch his flight, she said.

The last time a person was caught with a similar weapon was when a Florida man carried a rocket propelled grenade launcher at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Pennsylvania, Farbstein said.

Farbstein said she couldn’t recall a person recently being caught with such a weapon at BWI, though it’s not uncommon for TSA personnel to confiscate firearms being transported illegally and to arrest the traveler.

Twenty people were caught this year through July 22 with loaded guns in their carry-on bags at BWI, according to the security agency.

With five months remaining in the year, authorities at BWI are on pace to snag more loaded firearms than the 22 they confiscated in 2018.

"Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared,” the TSA said in a release. “Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.”

The most recent BWI firearm incident involved a Georgia resident who attempted to bring a handgun with him on a carry-on bag, according to the TSA.

The firearm was confiscated and the man arrested for weapons charges.


The man told police he drove from Georgia to Maryland, and he forgot about the weapon before attempting to fly home, officials said.