Feds: Virginia woman used baby seat to try to smuggle guns onto plane

|
Local,Crime,Scott McCabe

A Fairfax County woman was arrested after federal agents said she used a baby seat to try to smuggle five guns onto an international flight.

Twenty-eight-year-old Gabriela Saravia Justiniano was charged with knowingly attempting to export firearms, a crime that carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.

According to charging documents in the case:

Saravia and her 1-year-old son arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport early Tuesday morning for an early-morning flight to Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

Saravia, of Annandale, checked two black bags, which were tagged and placed on a conveyor belt to be screened by Transportation Security Administration officials.

The X-rays revealed something suspicious inside a child booster seat inside one of the checked bags.

Concealed inside the booster seat, customs officials found five firearms and firearm components, including 12 ammunition magazines and four "speed-loaders" for revolvers.

Airport police approached Saravia and her child at the gate area and detained her for questioning.

She at first denied knowing anything about the guns but then admitted that she was aware that the child seat held the guns.

She told investigators she was transporting the seat and other times to Bolivia for a friend whom she knew to be involved in arms smuggling. She said the man and his wife had asked her to carry guns to Bolivia during a previous trip, but she told them no.

Saravia said the man gave her the seat Saturday, and she asked if it contained anything illegal. The friend just laughed but did not answer her question.

While she packed her bags the next day, she noticed that the seat was heavy and realized it contained guns.

On her way to the airport, a friend warned her against going to Bolivia with the guns, but she replied that she was confident U.S. authorities wouldn't find the guns.

Saravia was arrested and was released without having to post bond.

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment