San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was arrested and taken into custody Sunday afternoon at L.A. International Airport after telling TSA agents he was carrying a bomb. According to eyewitness accounts, Smith was pulled aside by TSA agents for a second screening around 2 p.m., at which point the 24-year-old Greenwood, Mississippi native became “belligerent and uncooperative,” telling the agents that he had a bomb.
“The suspect then became belligerent and uncooperative with the process and with the TSA agent, making a comment indicating that he was in possession of a bomb before proceeding toward the gate area,” Sgt. Karla Ortiz said in a statement.
After telling TSA agents that he was carrying a bomb, Smith was transported to the L.A. Pacific Community Police Department where he charged with a single felony for false bomb report. In California, false bomb report carries a maximum 1-year prison sentence. Smith was released on $20,000 bail later that evening.
As he was being arrested by L.A. police officers, Smith allegedly kept saying that he did nothing wrong. According to TMZ, he also told the police officers that they were going to be “embarrassed” after arresting him.
There’s been no official statement from Smith or his legal council regarding his arrest at L.A. International Airport.
Did Smith have any ill intentions with his bomb threat at L.A. International Airport? Probably not, but this isn’t something you should go around saying at the airport, even if you are a famous NFL star. TSA and federal officials have amped up security at all major airports, and they don’t take bomb threats lightly. By telling TSA agents that he was carrying a bomb, Smith now faces a 1-year prison sentence. The golden rule of traveling by flight — whether it’s domestic or international — is to avoid saying the word “bomb.”
“We are disappointed to learn of the incident today involving Aldon Smith,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in the statement. “As this is a pending legal matter and we are still gathering the pertinent facts, we will have no further comment.”
But this isn’t Smith’s first run in with the law. In September 2013, he was arrested on suspicion of DUI and possession of marijuana. Smith took a 5-week leave of absence from the 49ers to attend rehab following his September arrest, essentially missing 5 games during the 2013 season.