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A Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) worker is accused of hiding a gun, two pistol magazines and a box of ammunition in the janitor’s closet, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Mikenson Regis, the employee in question, worked at the airport through a cleaning company called Sunshine Cleaning Systems. Criminal charges were filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on May 27.
On May 21, a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy was called to the airport’s Terminal 3 after the items were discovered in a black trash bag: a 9mm Ruger pistol, two pistol magazines (one of which had 17 rounds of ammunition) and a 33-round box of ammunition. The bag also included a “Sunshine Cleaning Systems” hat.
“The bag was discovered when it fell after a construction employee of FLL removed a ceiling tile to inspect the plumbing in the area,” according to the complaint. “The ceiling tiles are located within a janitor closet secured by a door code at Terminal 3.”
The sheriff’s office traced the gun, which was discovered with the other items in the janitor’s closet at the terminal, back to Regis.
“My client unknowingly brought a prohibited item to work with him,” Jennito Simon, Regis’ attorney, told USA TODAY in a statement. “He accidentally packed his bag for a trip out of the country not knowing that his legally purchased gun for the security of his family was in the bag.”
“When he realized the item was in his bag, he was already clocked in for work,” Simon continued. “Per his work policy, once he clocks in to work he cannot leave, even during breaks or lunch, employees are not allowed to leave the airport area. Unfortunately, after work he had a plane to catch on a preplanned trip to Haiti. And so he panicked and hid the prohibited items from the public and though he would deal with it after his trip to Haiti.”
According to the complaint, Homeland Security says there’s probable cause to believe he “knowingly and intentionally” avoided the Transportation Security Administration’s airport screening and security protocols.
“My client is a father of two and a law-abiding citizen who made a mistake,” Simon added.
“The Broward County Aviation Department is cooperating with the Broward Sheriff’s Office as well as our federal partners on an active investigation involving a contracted airport employee,” Gregory Meyer, public information officer of the Broward County Aviation Department told USA TODAY in a statement. “Although these allegations are serious, we continue to hold the safety and security of the traveling public and all airport workers as paramount to our mission in managing the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.”
Regis’ bond hearing is on Friday and his arraignment is scheduled for June 11.
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