Man Sentenced For Trying To Board Plane With Loaded Gun

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

sacinternationalairport_logoA Montana man who tried to board a plane at Sacramento International Airport with a loaded gun, weapons and ammunition has been sentenced by a federal judge.

United States District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller sentenced Harold E. Waller, 46, of Circle, Mont., today to three years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for attempting to board an aircraft with a concealed, dangerous weapon, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, in March 2012, Waller drove from Montana to Sacramento. On March 22, he purchased a one-way ticket to Alaska at the US Airways counter for the same day. Waller proceeded to the security checkpoint, placed three bags on the table near the X-ray belt, and waited his turn to proceed through individual screening. Waller removed his jacket, revealing a shoulder holster containing a gun.

Shortly thereafter, a Transportation Security Administration employee screening the bags identified a gun in the first bag to go through the X-ray device. Waller acknowledged the bag with the gun was his and said that there were more guns in the bag. A search of Waller and his bags demonstrated that each of the three bags contained a loaded gun and significant amounts of ammunition, loose and in clips. The gun in the shoulder holster, a Smith & Wesson 9 mm, model 6906 handgun, was loaded. Waller admitted he knew he had the weapons, knew they were loaded, and knew he was not supposed to transport them through the checkpoint or have them on the plane.

To sentencing him to three years, Judge Mueller varied upward from the Sentencing Guidelines recommendation in the case, noting the seriousness of the offense and the danger to the public posed by Waller. Judge Mueller noted that Waller continued to downplay his action, characterizing it as a mistake.  “This Court gives great weight to protecting the public,” Judge Mueller said. “The public could have been seriously harmed.”

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to the mission of keeping our airports safe for everyone. While Mr. Waller fortunately stopped short of drawing his weapons, his case is a cautionary tale for anyone who thinks bringing guns on an airplane might be a good idea. We would like to thank the alert TSA screeners who identified and stopped Mr. Waller before anyone was hurt,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner.

“Harold Waller’s willful intent to board a commercial aircraft with concealed, dangerous weapons, putting the safety of many people at risk is chilling,” said Manuel Alvarez Jr., Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Sacramento Division. “The Transportation Security Administration and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department played important roles in ensuring that Waller was unable to board an aircraft. We all must continue to work together to preserve the safety of American citizens.”

This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Jean M. Hobler and Daniel S. McConkie prosecuted the case.

Speak Your Mind