An incident at Edmonton International Airport has highlighted the limited powers of airport security officers after a traveller was caught with a suspected explosive device yet was still allowed to fly.
It all dates back to when RCMP arrested Skylar Vincent Murphy in Canada after he returned from his trip on Sep. 27, 2013. Police charged the 18-year-old resident of Spruce Grove, Alta. with possession of an explosive substance after an item resembling a pipe bomb was discovered in his carry-on luggage, according to an Alberta police report.
But officers with Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) made the discovery before Murphy even boarded his flight on Sep. 20, 2013. CATSA said they confiscated the suspected explosive but it wasn't until three days later the RCMP were notified about the incident, Global News reports.
Like the TSA in the United States, CATSA officers can't arrest or hold passengers if something illegal is found, only call the police because they are not technically law enforcement officials. CATSA says there are rules in place for when such events happen, but wouldn't go into any more details.
“Our job is to screen passengers and their belongings, and make sure that threats or potential threats…don’t make their way to the aircraft…and that’s what happened on that day,” Mathieu Larocque, a spokesperson for CATSA told Global.
Murphy pleaded guilty on Dec. 5 to possession of an explosive substance. He was sentenced to a year of probation and fined $100. Murphy will be prohibited from possessing explosives, firearms or ammunition for a year and will have to donate $500 for the University of Alberta burn unit, according to the CBC.
The RCMP stress the event was an isolated incident and Murphy acted alone.