Story (In the News)


Newsday: Feds: Man with stun guns stopped at JFK

NEWSDAY by Keith Herbert

A passenger at Kennedy Airport trying to take two stun guns onto a flight was stopped by Transportation Security Administration agents just two days after a stun gun was found on a JetBlue plane that landed at Newark Liberty Airport, federal officials said.

Othon Mourkakos, 53, of Alpine, N.J., was stopped by authorities at Kennedy about 9 p.m. Sunday as he waited to catch a flight to Germany, police said.

He was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, police said. Possession of a stun gun is illegal in New York, police said.

The TSA found the stun guns in Mourkakos' checked luggage.

Sunday's discovery came on the heels of Friday's incident, when JetBlue flight service workers found a stun gun in the seat-back pocket of Flight 1179 after it landed at Newark Liberty Airport about 10:30 p.m.

The two incidents came about two weeks after officials said the TSA and Virgin America Airlines failed to catch a passenger without a valid boarding pass who flew from Kennedy Airport to Los Angeles.

It hasn't been a good past few weeks for the TSA, Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Tuesday.

"Obviously more has to be done," King said. "I think for the most part, TSA has done a good job, but when you're fighting terrorism, you have to do a perfect job."

The FBI in Boston is investigating the Newark incident. FBI Agent Greg Comcowich, an agency spokesman, said the stun gun was prohibited on a plane, but wouldn't say if the FBI had launched a terrorism inquiry.

Weapons can be transported legally if stowed in checked baggage, Farbstein said.

On average, TSA screeners find weapons in the luggage of airline passengers twice a day. The agency screens 2 million passengers every day, Farbstein said.