Blundering TSA workers let a Kennedy Airport ramp worker board a flight to Florida without a boarding pass and without being screened in an astonishing breach of aviation security, law enforcement sources told The NY Post.
Marcelino Aponte, 31, had a reservation on Delta Flight 2159 from Kennedy to Orlando last night.
But Aponte had no boarding pass and no proper ID, and Transportation Security Administration screeners turned him away at a security barrier.
So Aponte – a Delta employee – used his special work ID to make his way to the plane via the airport’s secure areas, said law enforcement sources.
A security guard and another witness watched as Aponte tried to pass through a secure doorway in Delta’s Terminal 2. They noted that Aponte was carrying a small Louis Vuitton duffel bag with him.
Moments later, a TSA agent watched as Aponte tried to cleared another door, by swiping his airport work ID and then entering a PIN number onto a keypad.
Somehow, the agent lost track of Aponte.
And TSA officials waited until 45 minutes after Aponte’s security breach to call Port Authority cops.
Police were finally alerted at 7:20 p.m. – 18 minutes before his flight was scheduled to take off.
It wasn’t enough time for cops to locate the suspect. The next thing anyone knew, the Orlando-bound Boeing 737 had left the airport with Aponte strapped in to seat 3B.
Aponte never cleared airport metal detectors, and his hand baggage was never searched, said sources.
Aponte, a Bronx resident, was detained when he arrived in Orlando 2 ¹/₂ hours later. He was due to return to La Guardia Airport this afternoon on another Delta flight.
He’ll be charged in Brooklyn federal court on misdemeanor counts related to violating airport security rules, said sources.
Police sources said Aponte’s airport ID – called a Secure Identification Display Area badge – will be revoked.
“Here’s an airport worker who took advantage of his knowledge and his ability to use it to subvert airport security, so he could thwart screening for himself and the baggage he was carrying,” said a law enforcement official.
Source: THE NEW YORK POST