Newly installed automated security lanes at McCarran International airport were up and running in Sept. On Tuesday TSA agents stopped a passenger after finding a dead cougar in his suitcase. The animal had a valid Utah State Fish and Game tag on it.   
Photo: John Locher/AP
Photo: John Locher/AP

Holiday traveler tries to bring dead cougar home in suitcase, TSA says ‘no’

A holiday traveler’s plans were thrown into disarray when airport officials discovered he had a dead cougar stowed away in his suitcase.

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Transportation Security Administration agents at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada found the carcass around 10 p.m. on Tuesday night when the passenger’s luggage caught their attention going through a security screener, according to Metropolitan Police Lt. David Gordon. Although the cougar appeared to have a Utah State Fish and Game tag on it, officials still had to hold the man at the airport while they worked to confirm the validity of the tag.

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It was eventually determined that the tag was valid, but the travaler — who has not been publicly identified — instead shipped the carcass home in another manner, according to airport spokeswoman Melissa Nunnery. Nunnery said she was unaware of exactly where the dead cougar was being shipped.

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“It is not a crime to transport game that is legal to possess via airlines,” Gordon said. “However, airlines reserve the right to tell passengers they do not want to transport certain items.”

The passenger, who was released by TSA agents, was not arrested or charged with any crimes  because he did not do anything illegal, officials said.

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