TSA Helps Criminal Illegal Immigrant Escape Deportation at New York JFK

An illegal immigration with several convictions for violent crimes escaped in a taxi at New York JFK this week as he was about to be deported.

Mohamadou Lamine Mbacke entered the U.S. legally in 2015 but his criminal convictions, including weapons and firearms offenses, violated his status. He was ordered to be deported by a federal immigration judge in September 2015.

After that he was released “with an ‘order of supervision’ pending deportation,” however in April 2017 he was arrested again “in the alleged armed abduction and sexual abuse of a woman he met at Detroit’s MotorCity Casino” whom he claimed to have been married to in a religious ceremony unrecognized in the United States.

He was being flown from Detroit to New York JFK and on to Africa. In order to clear security the TSA required ICE to take off the man’s handcuffs. And he ran off.

TSA Agents in Charlotte Watch News of the TSA’s Failure to Detect Weapons and Bombs, Instead of Searching for Weapons and Bombs (HT: Tocqueville)

The man was being escorted by three Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. He’s standing at a TSA checkpoint. The TSA helps him break free by requiring that his handcuffs get removed. And he managed to just leave, without being successfully pursued.

And ICE and TSA officials “didn’t tell the Port Authority Police Department of the escape until 9:15 p.m.”

There’s some conflicting information here that suggests he may have escaped as early as 8 p.m. and that it may have been 9:30 p.m. or later before it was reported.

Three ICE agents were escorting Mbacke from Detroit to an overseas flight when they removed his handcuffs at a security checkpoint in Terminal 4 around 8 p.m. Tuesday, law-enforcement sources said.

As soon as the shackles were off, Mbacke — who’s considered a “violent felon” — darted away and disappeared among the other travelers, sources said.

The ICE agents spent at least 90 minutes searching for Mbacke before alerting cops, with a Port Authority spokesman saying: “We were notified between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m.”

I’m not sure it’s the best procedure for the TSA to require removing restraints from violent felons who are flight risks, and then not telling anyone when they actually run off.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. You just lost a daily reader. And I won’t bother to explain why as it would likely ring hollow to you anyway.

  2. This seems to me an ideal (only?) scenario for the body scanners to actually be preferable to metal detectors. He can’t go through a metal detector because handcuffs would set it off and he’d need a manual screening no matter what. But with hands over head, he could keep the handcuffs on in a full body scanner and be scanned like everyone else.

  3. We know you hate TSA and United Airlines, we get it. This headline is misleading and overblown.

  4. He flew DTW-JFK-Africa, why would he need to be rescreened again in JFK? Even if he was changed terminals, he has an armed escort that could take non-public route.

  5. @Tom from Seattle

    Goodbye Tom, don’t let the airline door handle hit you in the butt!

    The more blacks shipped to Africa the better. Someone find that illegal,
    smash his brains in, then get him outta here!

  6. Isn’t the real story that with three ICE agents escorting him, he was able to bolt and make it into a taxi? With one in front, one behind and one on his side, you’d think it was impossible to get away.

  7. It’s so hard to care that someone is here without the correct paperwork, when the men that orchestrated the financial collapse and destroyed the global economy are walking around free… Meh…

  8. More proof, as if any were needed, that TSA is NOT about our safety, but about another government jobs program, and to further the surveillance state.

  9. As one who usually takes the liberal side on immigration controversies, I’ll say this is a disgrace. This is exactly the sort of person who should be deported. The TSA and ICE let a convicted violent criminal go because of utter incompetence, and didn’t report it until some time later? I’m with Mak.

  10. The headline is nonsense: “TSA Helps Criminal Illegal Immigrant Escape”

    More accurate (and professional): “TSA Negligence Helps Criminal Illegal Immigrant Escape”

    But that doesn’t get as many clicks. You’re better than that, Gary.

  11. Y’all are pretty hard on Gary. I have my differences with him (and think he posts too many “who cares” posts), but this is actually… news. And the headline is a lot less click-baity than many that he writes. It’s actually quite accurate.

  12. @Jay

    It’s only accurate if the TSA officer wasn’t following policy. If the agent was actually following policy, then the agent was highly unlikely to be negligent. (God forbid, if wasn’t following policy, he should be fired.) It would have been negligent on ICE for not properly maintaining control of an unrestrained prisoner.

    So I’m not sure you proposed headline is actually accurate.

  13. @Kevin This female considers “armed abduction and sexual abuse of a woman he met at Detroit’s MotorCity Casino” a bit more than “without the correct paperwork”. Are you deliberately being obtuse, or is that just how you roll?

    And if you bother to respond, I’ll also add a question about the sincerity of your “meh” comment.

  14. @Dan That’s pretty funny. So it wasn’t negligence because the escape was the result of TSA procedures which are negligent and ridiculous BY DESIGN. Now I get it.

  15. If there was ever any thought this was an off topic post or at the very least a misleading headline for an article, it’s the comments on it that prove this is the case. We got racist Tommy_Boy and we got ultra opposed Tom and all of us in between. Its a stupid and inaccurate headline, further TSAs responsibilities arent the same as ICE, local police or FBI. This hard hitting journalistic piece doesn’t explain what the ICE agents were doing when this person escaped… I would like to think this is just oversight by the author but I have to assume it’s just another opportunistic potshot at TSA. If only you could involve United Airlines and perhaps a dead pet in this story then it would be a trifecta.

  16. He is an unlawful foreign citizen and with serious criminal record as well so a perfect candidate for free legalization and amnesty and he will be fully protected in the california.

  17. @Colleen. My “Meh…” comment wasn’t about the crime he committed, it was that he’s here illegally. The illegal part seemed to be the main point in Gary’s write up and I thought my point was pretty clear when I said, “It’s so hard to care that someone is here without the correct paperwork…” That my comment had to do with his status being here in the country.

    How you can draw a line from that comment to wondering if I am ok with women being assaulted is mind-blowing.

    So, to make sure you understand… If I say that I don’t care about someone’s immigration status, it does not mean that I don’t care about a woman getting assaulted. I’ll stop here. I just have no other way to try and get that point across to you. Sorry it was so confusing. I’m not in favor of women being assaulted.

  18. It seems your whole premise for this post was based on incorrect information. The reports indicated that they were already at the gate and he escaped when they had gotten him food and they turned their back on him for a moment. The TSA has nothing to do with it.
    Btw, he was caught.

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