Officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) in Houston recently discovered an unexpected – and illegal – item inside a breakfast burrito during checkpoint security screening operations.
On Friday, April 2 during the routine X-ray screening of carry-on luggage, a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) saw what appeared to be an unidentified lump inside of a traveler’s breakfast burrito. Due to the unusual nature and size of the lump, the TSO requested additional inspection of the food item.
A second TSO took control of the item in question and asked the traveler to unwrap it. The passenger insisted it was just a breakfast burrito, but the TSO again requested that the traveler unwrap the food for visual inspection.
Once the wrapper was open, the TSO noticed something dark and unusual in the middle of the burrito. Because the food item didn’t quite match the description provided by the traveler, a supervisory TSO was asked to assist and she decided to rescreen the breakfast burrito through the X-ray.
Following the second scan, the TSOs were able to see on the X-ray screen what appeared to be black tape and dark wrapping around a large organic mass. Because they suspected there was an illegal substance concealed in the food, they notified the Houston Police Department (HPD), which responded to the security checkpoint. HPD determined that the lump was crystal meth.
“I commend the actions of our TSOs and supervisory TSO who noticed something wasn’t quite right and for acting on their instincts. Their attention to detail and follow-up response led to the discovery of crystal meth, a dangerous and illegal substance,” said TSA Federal Security Director at HOU Hector Vela. “Airport security checkpoints in Houston and across Texas are seeing significant increases in the number of departing travelers. Despite these increases, TSA continues to focus on its core security mission to keep travelers safe and secure.”
“We sincerely thank all of our Houston Airports local and federal partners who work tirelessly every day to interdict dangerous contraband from entering or leaving our community,” said Houston Airports Chief of Operations Steven Hennigan. “In this case, TSA officers’ training, awareness and heroic actions, we believe, saved precious lives.”
Although TSO’s don’t actively screen for illicit drugs at airport security checkpoints, they are required to contact airport law enforcement when they come across suspected drugs in carry-on luggage or on a passenger. HPD officers took possession of the contraband and placed the traveler under arrest.