Baggage handler arrested for stealing firearms at Texas airport

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-3H4 passenger prepares to land.

In Austin Wednesday morning, a 25-year-old baggage handler at Austin Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) surrendered to FBI agents based on a federal criminal complaint charging him with theft from an interstate shipment and possession of stolen firearms.

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The complaint alleges that between November 29, 2016, and February 2, 2017, Ja’Quan Johnson of Austin stole numerous handguns from inside passenger bags at ABIA. The complaint further alleges that Johnson traded some of the stolen firearms for marijuana. So far, Austin Police have recovered seven firearms allegedly stolen by Johnson.

Upon conviction, Johnson faces up to ten years in federal prison for theft from an interstate shipment and up to ten years in federal prison for possession of each stolen firearm.

Johnson was released on a personal recognizance bond following his initial appearance this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Andrew W. Austin. No further court dates have been scheduled.

The announcement came from United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division, and Austin Police Chief Brian Manley.

This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Transportation Security Administration and the Austin Police Department’s Aviation Division.

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