Buffalo (WKBW release) -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced Friday that 52-year-old Brett Dieter of Barbersville, Virginia, was arrested and charged by Criminal Complaint with unlawfully possessing a concealed firearm as he attempted to board an airplane this morning at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
According to a news release:
The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McCabe, who is handling the prosecution of this case, Dieter is a pilot with Piedmont Airlines, which subcontracts with US Airways. The defendant reported to BNIA early this morning to pilot a flight to LaGuardia International Airport. As the pilot proceeded through security, a Transportation Security Officer observed what appeared to be a firearm concealed inside Dieter's bag. Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority police officers thereafter allegedly recovered a Smith and Wesson .357 magnum revolver, loaded with five rounds of ammunition, from the defendant's bag.
The Affidavit in support of today’s charge alleges that the defendant apparently traveled with the bag containing the gun beginning on May 16, 2012. On this day, the defendant reported to work for Piedmont Airlines to pilot an airplane from Charlottesville, Virginia to LaGuardia International Airport. The defendant did not submit this bag to x-ray screening at the Charlottesville airport.
The Affidavit further alleges that after landing at LaGuardia, Dieter performed seven other flights over the course of two days, all with the firearm in his bag.
The defendant made an initial appearance Friday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott. Dieter was released and is due back in court May 23, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. before Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy.
"I commend the fine work of security personnel at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport for detecting this firearm," said U.S. Attorney Hochul. "While under certain circumstances, certain Government officials – such as sworn law enforcement officers - are allowed to travel with firearms on airplanes, the law is clear regarding the steps that must be taken before a gun is brought onto a plane. In today’s day and age, we simply can’t afford to have anyone ignore these important regulations, all of which are designed to protect the traveling public."