BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Authorities evacuated an airport last week in Argentina after airport staff found a grenade-shaped marijuana grinder, according to The New York Post.
Alejandro Itzcovich, the head of security at the Astor Piazzolla airport, told local reporters that the grinder found at Astor Piazzolla airport was shaped like a grenade, prompting the evacuation and a visit from the bomb squad.
“Someone must have discarded the artifact before boarding on a plane,” said Itzcovich.
He went on to say that the law enforcement authorities were able to confirm the pot grinder was not an explosive and that they were working on finding out who owns the grenade-shaped pot paraphernalia. Medical marijuana was legalized in Argentina in 2017, however, recreational marijuana is still illegal.
The airport was forced to delay multiple flights as a result of the evacuation. The bomb expert tasked with defusing the grenade showed the grinder to the other officers involved with a smile after he realized the grenade was indeed a pot grinder used to shred marijuana flowers into smaller pieces and not an explosive device. This prompted smiles from his colleagues, as well.
A Grenade-Shaped Marijuana Grinder Has Caused Airport Evacuations Before
Airport security at the Washington Bellingham International Airport evacuated areas of the airport in 2016 after TSA agents found a grenade-shaped marijuana grinder in the carry-on luggage of a passenger, according to The Bellingham Herald.
TSA agents were screening luggage passing through the airport's x-ray screening equipment when they saw what resembled a grenade. TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers confirmed that the object was observed with the screening equipment around 8:30 a.m., prompting agents to search the man's luggage.
The bomb squad from the Bellingham Police Department was notified while the boarding and luggage screening areas were evacuated by airport security. Departing flights were delayed by the evacuations, but the airport was able to continue allowing incoming flights to land without interruption.
Dankers said that TSA agents aren't necessarily looking for pot paraphernalia or marijuana but instead are looking for anything that can put potentially put passengers in danger. She also said that the procedure for airport security is to notify the local authorities when an illegal item is found and to let them handle the situation.
"They're not looking for that sort of thing,” Dankers said. “They saw an image of a grenade, and it led them to this."
Dankers added that after authorities were able to confirm that the object found by the TSA agents was not an explosive, the man was allowed to board his flight, noting that TSA officers must follow procedures in such cases as opposed to taking the man's word that the grinder was indeed just a grinder.
"That's why we have these processes in place. It's just what we have to do. Passengers can be helpful, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't verify," Dankers concluded.
A California airport was also in the news in 2016 after another grenade-shaped marijuana grinder was found by airport security. TSA agents at The Sacramento International Airport posted on Instagram that any objects resembling grenades are prohibited in all luggage entering an aircraft.
"Especially if it's a grenade shaped grinder with marijuana inside," it read.
Officials found the grenade-shaped marijuana grinder in a person's carry-on luggage. The post included the hashtag #TSATravelTips and recommended that passengers refrain from trying to board an aircraft in the future with objects that resemble explosive devices.