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Man brought bag loaded with weapons to Columbia Metropolitan Airport, prosecutor says

A TSA agent walks through JFK airport in New York City. (Spencer Platt/TNS)
November 13, 2022

A Midlands man was arrested after being stopped with a bag full of weapons at Columbia Metropolitan Airport, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Monday in a news release.

David Lee Angell, a 51-year-old Columbia resident, was charged with knowing and willfully entering into an airport area in violation of security requirements and has been detained following a contested bond hearing in federal court in Columbia, according to the release.

The incident happened Oct. 27, according to an affidavit.

During a court appearance, an FBI special agent testified that Angell was stopped at TSA screening while attempting to board a plane, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. A search of Angell’s carry-on bag revealed that he had three smoke grenades, one set of plastic stun knuckles, three stun batons, two knives, and two cans of pepper spray in his carry-on bag, according to the release.

“All of these items are prohibited from being in a passenger’s carry-on baggage,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Angell told an airport security officer he was flying to Oregon, where he was moving to “attend military training, and attempt to re-enlist in the Marines,” according to the affidavit. Information about who was conducting the military training was not available.

Initially, Angell told the officer he didn’t know the items were not permitted, but there was a sign at the front of the TSA security checkpoint listing prohibited items, as well as a warning on one of the cans of pepper spray saying it was not allowed in carry-on bags for civil airplanes, the affidavit said.

When the officer told Angell he would have been better off putting the items into his checked baggage, Angell replied that he attempted to do that, but records show he had successfully checked four bags for the same flight, according to the affidavit. There was no word if any other weapons or banned items were found in Angell’s checked bags.

The FBI arrested Angell, and bond was denied during an appearance in federal court, according to the release.

If convicted, Angell faces a maximum punishment of one year in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The case is being investigated by the FBI, Columbia Metropolitan Department of Public Safety, and TSA.


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