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Knives get through New Orleans security


Well-known member
Jan 11, 2002
Total Time
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- For the second time in a week, federal authorities have arrested a foreign seaman who got past a security checkpoint at Louis Armstrong International airport with knives in his carry-on luggage.

Mariano Verdadero Condat, 40, of the Philippines, was arrested Thursday, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said in a news release Friday.

Condat's knives were found during a random search at a boarding gate. In his carry-on satchel were a utility knife with a 3½-inch blade, four other 3½-inch blades, one knife with a blade that was 2} inches long, another knife with a blade 1 inches long and a six-inch hacksaw blade, Letten said in a news relase.

Letten said Condat was returning to the Philippines after a month at sea. Letten would not give details about Condat's arrest, including whether the satchel went through an X-ray machine or whether the National Guard, local law enforcment officials or the FBI found the knives.

On Sunday, Albert Silvarian, a 42-year-old Indian national, passed through the airport's major security checkpoint without the screening turning up any of the knives in his briefcase. At the gate, he was picked for a random search, which found five knives and two sets of scissors.

After those weapons were confiscated, Silvarian boarded his flight. Another search of the briefcase by Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies and National Guardsmen turned up three more knives and he was taken off the plane.

Silvarian's attorney said Silvarian's taking the knives aboard the plane was a case of "studpidity and negligence" but that the Indian national, who was still being held Friday, intended no crime.

While Sunday's arrest of Silvarian led to the evacuation of an airport concourse and flight delays, there was no such disruption when Condat was arrested, airport spokeswoman Michelle Duffourc said.

Like Condat, Silvarian was a seaman heading to his homeland at the time of his arrest.

On Monday, Letten told reporters he and other law enforcement officials were "profoundly disturbed" over the Indian national's having gotten past screeners.

On Friday, Letten said he and his staff had met earlier in the week with the Federal Aviation Administraion and Transportation Security Agency authorities to discuss security at the airport.

"In light of this most recent incident, our office will increase our efforts and those of the U.S. Department of Justice, to improve security at the International Airport," Letten said.

Dufourc, noting that the FAA and TSA are now oversees security at the nation's airports, said the private company that does screenng at Armstrong is ITS of Cleveland. A phone message left with ITS offices was not returned Friday afternoon.