NYC prosecutor arrests 5 in airport gun smuggling scheme

NEW YORK - A New York prosecutor has announced five arrests in a brazen scheme in which guns - even an AK-47 rifle - were taken onto passenger jets for years in carry-on luggage.

Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson made the disclosure at a news conference Tuesday. He announced the arrests a day after charges were announced in Atlanta against an airline baggage handler.

In total, the suspects are accused of trying to smuggle 153 weapons, most of which were purchased in Georgia and headed for Brooklyn, officials say. They ranged from AR-15 and AK-47 assault weapons to Glock .9mm handguns.

Thompson said he was not trying to scare anyone. But he called "truly frightening" what investigators learned after a probe that started as a way to reduce gun violence in Brooklyn.

"In this age of terrorism, it is simply unthinkable that anyone would breach the security of our nation's airports to smuggle guns," said Thompson in a statement. "To make matters worse, these guns were intended to hit the streets of Brooklyn, where they could have been used to shoot and kill our residents and police officers."

Thompson said former Delta Air Lines employee Mark Quentin Henry took guns aboard at least 17 commercial airliners this year from Atlanta to New York airports between May and December of 2014. Prosecutors say he was helped by Eugene Harvey, a Delta Airlines ramp agent, who helped smuggle the firearms in exchange for cash.

The name of his Henry's lawyer wasn't listed in court records.