A New Jersey man tried to board a flight with an AR-15, taser and a fake US Marshal badge, authorities say


A New Jersey felon tried to board a flight late last year with an AR-15 rifle, a Taser and a fake US Marshal badge, according to a federal complaint unsealed Monday.

Seretse Clouden has been charged with Unlawful Possession of Firearms and Ammunition by a Convicted Felon and Fraudulent Possession of a US Identification Document and Authentication Function after the December 30 incident at Newark International Airport Liberty.

“During routine inspection of checked baggage destined for Fort Lauderdale, Transportation Security Administration agents discovered two .40 caliber Glock magazines, each containing fifteen rounds of .40 caliber ammunition,” the five-page complaint said. pages. “Further search of that luggage revealed a ballistic vest carrier displaying the words ‘Deputy Marshal.'”

The US Marshals Service confirmed that Clouden has never been an employee of the agency, according to the document.

After the discovery, agents responded to the gate from which Clouden’s flight was scheduled. Clouden told officers that he did not have police credentials or firearm identification cards from any state.

His luggage was removed from the aircraft, and upon further inspection, officers found an AR-15 rifle, a .40 caliber pistol, a Taser, a spring-loaded knife, an expandable baton, a .308 caliber rifle, and “Marshal from United States”. Credential with his name and photograph along with a name tag.

His attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

Clouden pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a weapon in 2016.

The charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000, while fraudulent possession of an identification document can carry a maximum sentence of 15 years, a fine, or both. .

So far in 2023, more than 800 firearms have been intercepted at airport checkpoints.

“It is absolutely not acceptable to have firearms near checkpoints,” said TSA spokesman R. Carter Langston. “There is a legally permitted way to carry firearms in checked baggage, but you must be legally capable of carrying a firearm in your jurisdiction, declare it with the airline, and pack it properly in a closed, hard case.”

Last year, the TSA set a record by intercepting more than 6,500 firearms at airport checkpoints across the country. The weapons were found in 262 airports and 88% were loaded.

Donna Mendell contributed.

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