The breakup of a gun smuggling ring allegedly involving a current and former Delta Air Lines employee has exposed what a New York prosecutor described as an “egregious breach of security” at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, CNN reports. Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said the investigation was “deeply troubling,” not only for the havoc the gun running unleashed on the streets but because of the vulnerability to acts of terrorism on air travel that it revealed. “If they can put guns on the plane this time,” he told reporters, “they could have easily put a bomb on one of those planes.”
Two men worked together to smuggle guns and ammunition on at least 20 flights from Atlanta to New York from May to December, officials said. Thompson attributed the security breach to the fact that airport employees “are not required to go through screening.” In total, 153 guns were recovered as part of a complex investigation. Eugene Harvey, who worked for Delta at the Atlanta airport, was arrested in Atlanta. Harvey allegedly used his security clearance to help provide guns to a passenger named Mark Quentin Henry after Henry cleared security. Henry, a former employee, allegedly brought the firearms in his carry-on luggage on at least five flights from Atlanta to New York between May 1 and December 10.