STERLING, VA.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized a cache of firearms, which included AR-15s and AK-47s, as unmanifested freight at Washington Dulles International Airport Tuesday. The firearms – 22 AR-15s, six AK-47s, one Glock 19 pistol, and one Night Sprint NVG night vision monocular – were discovered among a larger manifest of weapons that a U.S.-based international security firm imported from Iraq via charter cargo flight August 2.
“We believe the firearms were erroneously inventoried or shipped to the United States. The security firm has declined interest in the firearms and so Customs and Border Protection seized the unmanifested firearms,” said Christopher Hess, CBP’s port director for the Port of Washington, D.C. “This seizure clearly illustrates how closely Customs and Border Protection examines import manifests and identifies anomalies that could potentially harm our nation or our citizens.”
Background checks on the firearms proved negative.
CBP has alerted other federal agencies. If the firearms remain unclaimed, they’ll most likely be destroyed.
The security firm initially notified CBP that they intended to import a shipment of firearms that they exported to Iraq between 2004 and 2009. CBP is not identifying the international security firm as no criminal charges have be assessed against the firm.
CBP detained the entire shipment when it arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport August 2. Between August 19 and November 6, CBP officers inventoried the shipment of more than 6,000 items and discovered firearms in excess of the security firm’s itemized inventory list.
CBP offered the security firm an opportunity to amend their manifest to include the excess firearms, but the company declined and stated that the firearms did not belong to it.
CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international passengers and cargo, and searches for terrorist weapons, illicit narcotics, unreported currency, counterfeit merchandise, and prohibited agriculture and other products.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.