A soldier who went AWOL from a Kentucky military base was busted for allegedly impersonating a law enforcement officer with a gun on a United Airlines flight, according to federal authorities.
Jaidan Raine Higueros — who had left the Fort Campbell Army base near Hopkinsville without approval — falsely claimed to be transporting the 9mm Glock to the FBI on the Feb. 15 flight from Chicago to Nashville, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Tennessee.
“During the flight, Federal Air Marshals on board noticed Higueros acting suspiciously. The [marshals] determined that Higueros was carrying a loaded firearm inside a duffle bag in the passenger compartment of the aircraft,” the complaint states.
When one of the agents confronted him, he allegedly claimed to be a military policeman who was transporting the gun to federal authorities for a Nashville-based case.
Higueros then gave the agent consent to search his bag, which contained “an unloaded Glock 43 9mm, one magazine with six rounds of ammunition, and one empty magazine,” according to the complaint.
Before boarding the plane, Higueros allegedly falsely told a United Airlines worker that he worked for the Defense Department and had a firearm in his luggage, the court documents state.
“[The worker] advised him that he wouldn’t make the flight, because the check in process for the firearm would take too long, Higueros told him that he was a “LEO”’ — short for law enforcement officer, the complaint, which was first reported by the WKRN, states.
Higueros — a Private Second Class in the U.S. Army, assigned to the 561st Military Police Company — allegedly then took the gun onboard without authorization credentials.
When the flight landed in Nashville, Higueros was arrested and charged with impersonating a US officer and carrying a weapon on an aircraft.
Higueros’ military commander later said he was “absent without leave” at the time of the flight because he had left a 250-mile radius surrounding Fort Campbell without approval, according to the complaint.
Higueros was not serving in any government or law enforcement capacity during the trip, his commander said.
The incident allegedly took place on United Airline flight 1284 from Chicago O’Hare Airport to the Nashville International Airport.