FBI says man flying to Fort Lauderdale had guns, ammo, fake marshal ID in baggage

NEWARK, N.J. – A man who federal agents say tried to board a Fort Lauderdale-bound plane in New Jersey with three guns, including a semi-automatic rifle, and a fake law-enforcement ID is in federal custody and facing two charges.

Seretse Clouden, who has a prior weapon-related conviction, is charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and having a fraudulent ID, according to a complaint posted Monday.

The incident occurred as Clouden, 42, of Wallington, New Jersey, tried to board a flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 30, according to an affidavit by an FBI agent that was filed in federal district court in Newark.

Agents screening checked bags found ammunition and a ballistic vest emblazoned with “Deputy Marshal” in one of Clouden's bags, according to the affidavit. They retrieved more of his luggage from the plane and found an AR-15 rifle that “meets the definition of a machine gun,” another rifle, a handgun, a taser, a spring-loaded knife, an expandable baton, a “United States Marshal” badge and U.S. marshal credentials with Clouden’s name and photo, according to FBI agent Christopher Granato.

The FBI agent said the U.S. Marshals Service confirmed that Clouden is not and has never been employed by the agency.

An attorney listed in court records as representing Clouden did not immediately respond when emailed for comment. A U.S. magistrate signed an order Monday placing Clouden in federal custody and said Clouden and prosecutors want more time to negotiate a plea agreement.

Clouden was convicted in 2016 in New Jersey of unlawful possession of a weapon, according to Granato.

Last year, the Transportation Security Administration seized a record 6,542 guns at airports around the country. Most people who are stopped for having a gun at an airport checkpoint say they forgot they had the weapon with them.