By Thomas W. Krause of The Tampa Tribune
Published: February 20, 2008
TAMPA - A 21-year-old Clearwater man was arrested at Tampa International Airport this weekend after security personnel found a box cutter in a hollowed-out book, authorities said.
If convicted, Baines faces up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine for a federal charge of attempting to board an airplane with a concealed dangerous weapon. He is currently serving a 30 day
sentence after pleading guilty Monday to a state misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon.
About 7:30 a.m. Sunday, airport security ran Benjamin Baines Jr.'s backpack through an X-ray machine and saw the image of a box cutter, according to a report from the Transportation Security Administration.
When searching the backpack, a security officer found a book titled "Fear Itself." The book was hollowed out, and the box cutter was inside.
After Baines was read his rights, he said his cousin had cut away the pages to make the hollow section in the book. Later, reports state, he said he had hollowed it out himself to hide money and marijuana from his roommates.
Baines told officers he was moving to Las Vegas and forgot the cutter was in the book.
Officers found books in the backpack titled "Muhammad in the Bible," "The Prophet's Prayer" and "The Noble Qur'an." He also had a copy of the Quran and the Bible.
Several sheets of paper in the backpack included rap lyrics that referred to police, narcotics, weapons and killing. Baines told officers he is a rapper who writes his own lyrics and that rap music writers need to "play the part," the report states.
Officers performed a background check and found no record of crimes or active warrants.
He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and booked into Orient Road Jail. At his first appearance in court Monday, Baines pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, according to an employee with the Hillsborough County clerk of court. He remained in Orient Road Jail today.
The U.S. Attorney's Office also filed a federal charge of attempting to board an aircraft with a concealed dangerous weapon. The federal charge against Baines was filed Sunday but was not announced until today, said Steve Cole, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa.
Cole said Baines will be arrested by U.S. marshals upon his release from jail on the state charge.
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