Thursday, July 14, 2005

Eyes in the Box


CONTACT: 214/659-8707
SEPTEMBER 10, 2003


U.S. Attorney Says More Charges May Be Forthcoming

United States Attorney Jane J. Boyle announced that a federal complaint charging Charles D. McKinley, age 25, with Stowaway On Aircraft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2199 was filed today in Fort Worth, Texas. According to the complaint, on or about September 5 and 6, 2003, McKinley, intending to obtain transportation, did board, enter, and secrete himself aboard an aircraft in Newark, New Jersey, without the consent of the owner, charterer, or person in command of such aircraft, and did remain aboard after the aircraft left there and arrived at the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport. While an arrest warrant was issued for McKinley, arrangements will be made for McKinley to be turned over to federal authorities. It is anticipated that he will make an initial appearance on this misdemeanor charge before United States Magistrate Judge Charles Bleil within the next few days. McKinley has been in state custody since his arrest on Saturday, September 6, 2003 in Desoto, Texas.

U.S. Attorney Boyle said, "This office is taking swift action on this case through the immediate filing of the most readily apparent federal violation against this individual, which is the "stowaway" charge. Rest assured, we are thoroughly investigating all potential charges and will move forward, if warranted under the law, with additional charges."

The affidavit filed with the complaint states that on Saturday, September 6, 2003 DeSoto, Texas police officers arrested Charles D. McKinley at a residence in DeSoto. The officers had gone to the residence in response to information provided to them by a driver for Pilot Air Freight who advised that he had been in the process of delivering a large crate to that address that morning and had seen a pair of eyes looking out from inside the crate. The driver advised that slats on the side of the crate were kicked open and a person got out of the crate and entered the residence.

After arrival at the DeSoto residence the officers made contact with McKinley and asked him if he had shipped himself by air freight to the residence. McKinley responded that he had taken a passenger flight from New York to Kentucky and, with the help of a friend whom he identified by name and whom he claimed was a pilot for United Parcel Service, had then been shipped by air freight from Kentucky to the DFW Airport. McKinley provided the DeSoto officers with New York identification card. The DeSoto officers determined that there were outstanding local warrants for McKinley's arrest and took him into custody.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) conducted an investigation into the shipping records relating to the crate in which McKinley had been transported. Those records reflect that the crate was loaded onto Kitty Hawk Air Cargo flight 2863 which departed Newark, New Jersey at 11:53 P.M. on September 5, 2003. After an intermediate stop in Buffalo, New York, the flight proceeded to Fort Wayne, Indiana. After arrival in Fort Wayne, the crate was transferred to Kitty Hawk Air Cargo flight 1912. This flight departed Fort Wayne at 5:10 a.m. and arrived at the DFW Airport at 7:00 a.m. on September 6, 2003. The crate was then turned over to the delivery service which then delivered the crate to the DeSoto residence. The shipping documents reflect that the contents of the crate were represented as a computer, a monitor, and clothes.

The investigation and search of TSA pilot records reflected that there was no person with the name given by McKinley who holds any pilot's license.

On Monday evening, McKinley admitted to federal agents in a written statement that he had shipped himself in the crate from New York City to the DFW Airport and that he had charged the shipping expense to a UPS account which he had set up. He stated that he did not intend to pay UPS once he got home.

"Congress and the Department of Justice are examining the issue of cargo safety. We hope that through our investigation, they will be provided more information on cargo vulnerabilities," Ms. Boyle stated.

U.S. Attorney Boyle praised the investigative efforts of the Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the DFW Airport Department of Public Safety, and the DeSoto, Texas, Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frederick M. Schattman.

Charles McKinley: The Hero with eyes that dared to look over his shoulder towards the flickering emanating from the back of Plato's Cave.

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