A Culpeper man who served as a U.S. Army Special Forces non-commissioned officer was charged with carrying a concealed weapon in an airport terminal at Washington Dulles International Airport last Tuesday as he was trying to board a plane to Colorado Springs, Colo.
According to Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokesman Robert Yingling, Nicholas Freitas, 34, was issued a summons before being allowed to continue with his travels last week.
Transportation Security Administration officers at Dulles stopped Freitas after noticing a loaded handgun inside his carry-on bag as he exited the X-ray machine.
That’s when TSA contacted the MWAA police, who confiscated the loaded weapon, which had 11 rounds at the time.
“TSA screens approximately 20,000 passengers and their carry-on bags each day here at Dulles and our TSA officers remain focused on threats to the flying public,” said TSA Federal Security Director Scott Johnson.
Freitas, a member of the Culpeper County Republican Committee, works as a defense contractor.
Reached by phone Monday afternoon, Freitas described the airport incident as a mistake.
“There was nothing deliberately done and there was certainly no criminal intent that was done,” Freitas explained.
TSA repeatedly explains to “passengers that they are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the security checkpoint and they should make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items inside them.
“As a reminder, weapons -- including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition -- are not permitted in carry-on bags, but can be transported in checked bags if they are unloaded, properly packed and declared to the airline,” according to the TSA website. “Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.”
Freitas is due to appear in Loudoun County General District Court on Jan. 7 at 1:30 p.m. on two charges: carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a concealed weapon in an airport terminal, which are considered Class 1 misdemeanors punishable up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500.