Self-mailed man raises container security concerns

| 9/15/2003

A homesick shipping clerk's trip from New York to Dallas in a wooden airline shipping crate shows America must do more to strengthen cargo security, a homeland security official said Sept. 10.

"It certainly shows that we have more work to do on cargo security," Asa Hutchinson, the Homeland Security Department's undersecretary for transportation security, told ABC News' "Good Morning America" program. "We have to work with the private sector. We expect these companies to know what goes into these items and to make sure the shippers have some integrity to ship …"

Investigators from the Transportation Security Administration have interviewed Charles D. McKinley twice to learn how he got past security. McKinley, who startled his parents and a deliveryman when he popped of the box outside their home, was arrested and jailed on unrelated bad-check and traffic charges.

Federal officials are considering additional charges of stowing away on a plane for McKinley's overnight trip.

McKinley told investigators that he filled out shipping instructions saying the crate held a computer and clothes. Authorities think he had help from at least one co-worker at the warehouse where he works in New York when he loaded himself into the box. It was taken by truck from New York's Kennedy Airport to New Jersey, then loaded onto a pressurized, heated cargo plane operated by Kitty Hawk Cargo.

From there, it flew from Newark, NJ, to Niagara Falls, NY, then to the carrier's hub in Fort Wayne, IN, and on to Dallas, the FBI said. Billy Ray Thomas, a driver for Pilot Air Freight, picked up the crate Saturday at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and delivered it to McKinley's parents' home in suburban DeSoto.