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November 5, 2001
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FBI arrests Nepalese for carrying weapons at O'Hare

Ashok Easwaran in Chicago

A Nepalese national, Subhash Gurung, 27, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday for attempting to take a stun gun and knives aboard a plane at O'Hare airport.

Chicago police officer Thomas Donegan said Gurung passed through a security checkpoint with seven knives, a stun gun and a can of Mace in his carry-on baggage. Police arrested him at 1930 Central Time on Saturday when he was about to board a United Airlines flight to Omaha.

Gurung passed a security point with the weapons, but airline employees discovered them during a final bag check at the gate. Two folding knives were discovered in Gurung's pocket when he passed through the checkpoint metal detector. The police were summoned and the knives were confiscated, but Gurung was allowed to continue to the boarding gate.

The incident has led to the suspension of seven security workers and an investigation by Chicago's department of aviation and the Federal Aviation Authority on how Gurung's bag went through an X-ray machine without the staff noticing the weapons. His bag was apparently not searched even after the knives were found on him.

According to Donegan, Gurung has been charged with three misdemeanour counts of unlawful use of a weapon, attempting to board an aircraft with dangerous weapons and carrying dangerous weapons. He was arrested on Saturday and released on Sunday on a $1000 bail bond. On Monday, police said, he was arrested again by the FBI. An FBI spokesperson, however, refused comment.

Donegan said Gurung had told investigators that he had worked in a warehouse earlier, but was currently unemployed. He had recently moved back to Chicago from Minnesota. O'Hare is said to be the world's busiest airport with a pre-September 11 record of a takeoff or landing every minute.

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