WASHINGTON, Apr. 26, CMC – The United States Department of State has confirmed that Cuba twice complained of finding guns in luggage arriving from Miami International Airport two years ago.
Since then “we have not been informed of any other incidents,” State Department spokesman William Ostick said on Tuesday.
He, however, said: “We don’t know of any instance in which Cuban authorities have charged US citizens or US residents for bringing firearms.”
Ostick declined to provide further details on the gun cases.
A US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spokesperson in Miami would not comment on details of the Cuba gun cases but noted that “TSA works closely with our Cuban counterparts, as we expand our partnership to provide a high level of mutual transportation security.
“While I cannot comment on certain procedural specifics for security reasons, TSA carefully applies security measures in accordance with international standards and TSA requirements,” Sari Koshetz told reporters.
Koshetz said TSA regulations permit firearms to travel as checked-in luggage, but require them to be unloaded and locked in hard-sided containers.
She said ammunition must be packed separately and the guns must be declared to the airline at check-in, adding that bags checked in for both domestic and foreign flights pass through screening machines designed to set off alarms when they spot items like guns.
Koshetz said when a screening machine alerts, TSA tries to resolve the reason for the alarm, which involves checking with the airline and tracking down the passenger if, for example, the gun is not packaged properly.
According to TSA regulations, guns declared on foreign-bound flights also must be accompanied by an export license from the US Department of State.
In addition, US Department of Treasury spokesman John Sullivan said the half-century-old US trade and economic embargo against Cuba “does not allow export of guns to Cuba”.