Baggage Handler at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport Arrested for Smuggling Guns Into Airport by Evading Security
ATLANTA—Eugene Harvey, a baggage handler at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, has been arrested on a federal complaint charging him with trafficking in firearms and entering the secure areas of the airport in violation of security requirements.
“The complaint alleges that Harvey repeatedly evaded airport security with bags of firearms, some of which were loaded,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “He then passed the guns off to an accomplice who transported them as carry-on luggage to New York, where they were illegally sold.”
J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “The FBI has dedicated significant investigative resources at our nation’s airports to not only address those special jurisdiction cases involving air travel itself, but also to provide assistance to those agencies responsible for the security of those airports and all that travel through them. This case represents a serious security breach at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson airport and the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office continues to work with its various law enforcement partners in addressing this breach and preventing future ones.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: On at least five occasions in 2014, Harvey, a baggage handler for Delta Air Lines, worked with another former Delta employee to smuggle firearms through airport-controlled security checkpoints for Delta employees, and thus he was not required to go through the screening performed for passengers by TSA. Once through the airport-controlled security checkpoints, the firearms were carried in carry-on baggage into the passenger cabins of aircraft. Each time, Harvey’s accomplice flew to New York with the guns, where they were illegally sold.
The federal investigation into Harvey began when the New York Police Department and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office notified the FBI that a then-unidentified individual was helping a gun-trafficker move guns illegally from Georgia into New York. By that time, the New York Police Department had identified and arrested the New York seller of the illegal firearms, and was investigating how the guns were being smuggled into New York. Since January 2014, Harvey’s accomplice has trafficked approximately 129 firearms between Georgia and New York. The last shipment on December 10, 2014, contained 18 firearms, 7 of which were loaded.
Upon learning of the information, Delta Air Lines worked closely with law enforcement to identify Harvey and immediately terminated him.
Eugene Harvey, 31, of College Park, Ga., made his initial appearance Monday before Linda T. Walker, United States Magistrate Judge. Harvey was arrested Saturday on federal charges of trafficking in firearms and entering the secure areas of the airport in violation of security requirements. He was released on bond.
Members of the public are reminded that the criminal complaint only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Federal Air Marshal Service, and the Transportation Security Administration.
Assistant United States Attorney L. Skye Davis is prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.