A New Jersey man en route to Turkey was arrested late Wednesday after attempting to smuggle gun parts through Newark Liberty International Airport, according to law enforcement officials.
The man, whose identity has not been released, attempted to transport gun parts in his checked luggage that were “artfully concealed,” according to officials from the Transportation Security Administration.
Officers found a box of two-pound wrist and ankle weights, inside which the parts were hidden, according to a press release.
The person accused of transporting the parts was detained for questioning by transportation security officials and subsequently arrested by Port Authority Police.
The man is a resident of Elmwood Park, New Jersey, who had a ticket for a flight to Istanbul, Turkey. He told police that he was given the luggage by a friend and denied knowing it carried firearm parts.
The arrest comes at a time of heightened anxiety around guns, following a spate of mass shootings and other gun-related violence this year. Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced an indictment bearing more than 1,600 counts last week against five men accused of belonging to a multi-state gun trafficking operation that guns sold in Queens.
A spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey did not immediately provide additional details.