Hartsfield-Jackson chief to testify in Washington about security lapse

The boss of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is expected to testify before Congress next week about the security lapse that allowed for a gun-running operation from Atlanta to New York.

General Manger Miguel Southwell is expected to testify before the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security Tuesday. The subcommittee is conducting a “review of access control measures at our nation’s airports,” according to the congressional website that Friday listed Southwell as a witness.

Southwell will be addressing the latest security lapse to occur around the nation involving guns and employees. In December, authorities unveiled an investigation in which they said a baggage handler bypassed security with carry-on bags full of guns and handed them to a former Delta Air Lines worker traveling on flights.

The men now face firearms trafficking and other charges for allegedly smuggling 129 hanguns and two assault rifles from Georgia to New York between May 1 and Dec. 10. It was second such case at Hartsfield-Jackson in two years.

In an earlier statement, J. Britt Johnson, special agent in charge of the FBI Atlanta Field Office, called the case “a serious security breach at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport.”

According to an FBI’s agent’s affidavit filed, NYPD investigators arrested Mark Quentin Henry, who worked for Delta from 2007 to 2010, on Dec. 10 after he flew from Atlanta to New York with 18 handguns in a carry-on bag, seven of them loaded.

Henry supplied handguns and assault rifles to an unnamed co-conspirator, who sold them to a New York undercover officer, according to the affidavit. Authorities also arrested Eugene Harvey, 31, of College Park, who worked as a Delta ramp agent and baggage handler. He allegedly took the weapons past security and handed them off to Henry.