The man who allegedly tried to smuggle a loaded semi-automatic pistol through John F. Kennedy Airport has pleaded not guilty and posted $15,000 bail.
Junior A. Almonte, 30, has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property for the Wednesday, July 14 incident.
According to District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Almonte, a passenger on a JetBlue flight, “placed a black carry-on bag on the conveyor belt to the X-ray machine for a pre-flight security screening.”
But an eagle-eyed Transportation Screening Agent saw the firearm in the bag, and a .9MM Beretta semi-automatic, loaded with 10 live hollow shells, was recovered.
“The members of the Port Authority Police Department are committed to the safety of the flying public. Our officers did an outstanding job apprehending this individual and successfully contained a potentially dangerous situation,” said Mike Fedorko, Superintendent of Police, Port Authority of NY & NJ.
Almonte, who was headed to Puerto Rico, failed to produce a valid gun permit and reportedly fled – leaving behind his belongings, including his sneakers – and hid out for few hours before turning himself in.
The gun, according to the DA, was reported stolen from Ohio.
Almonte’s lawyer, Patrick Joyce, said, “We will be in negotiations with the prosecutor’s office. The case has not gone to the grand jury [as of Friday, July 16].”