By The Associated Press
ATLANTA, Ga. — A man with a box cutter in his luggage got through airport security, and was discovered only after screeners stopped a companion who was carrying knives, authorities said. Terrorism was ruled out but both were arrested on state weapons charges.
Authorities said Chhaganbhai Patel, 60, was stopped at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Oct. 25 after he was found with a number of knives including a martial arts-style knife.
Shakarabhai Patel, 64, who was traveling with him, had already made it through security and onto the Delta Air Lines jet, which was bound for New York and then to India, authorities said. The plane was brought back to the gate and police said a box cutter and $5,000 cash were found in the second man's bag.
Both have been charged with state violations of carrying concealed weapons, according to an Atlanta police report.
FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett said Thursday that federal agents interviewed the two men through an interpreter and determined the incident was not terrorism-related. No federal charges were brought. He declined to explain why the men had the knives.
Atlanta police Lt. Jim Corlino told Atlanta television station WAGA that the way the knives were packed ''was an intentional concealment.''
''The (martial arts) knife was a large, Chinese-style fighting knife,'' Corlino said. Authorities said they also found 20 small knives wrapped in tin foil and razor blades hidden in the battery compartment of a toy car. The police report said the man indicated he wrapped the knives to keep them from cutting his clothes.
Jon Allen, spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, said the arrests illustrate the agency's practice of having multiple layers of security.
''One of those layers is professionally trained officers who through their questioning identified the travel companion,'' Allen said. ''The travel companion was removed from the flight and rescreened and that's when that box cutter was identified.''
Delta spokeswoman Betsy Talton said the airline cooperated fully with authorities.
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It was not immediately clear if the men had lawyers; police did not return calls seeking more details.