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Aug 27, 2013 9:07 PM by Eric Ross

News 5 Exclusive: How safe are TSA Agents keeping you and your family?

Before boarding a flight, do you ever wonder how effective security checkpoints and baggage screenings are?

The Transportation Safety Administration admits, they're only as safe as the agents running them. So, how well are TSA Agents doing their jobs?

News 5 was able to get an exclusive look at some of the weapons confiscated at one of the nation's largest airports.

On any given day at Denver International Airport, about 50,000 people go through the screening process, and you won't believe what's been seized from traveler's carry-on bags.

"Thank God we have security to help us out," passenger Nancy Sanders said. " I would be afraid to fly if we didn't have them."

When it comes to safety, TSA Supervisor Desi Sarnella says there's no room for error.

"The officers have to be well-coached and know exactly what they are looking for," Sarnella said.

The guns shown to News 5 during our story were only replicas. The real ones are immediately turned over to the police.

So far this year, TSA agents have seized 28 guns from DIA, 2 of which were found since Saturday.

"This is scary," Sanders said. "This is really scary."

TSA Agents say it's fairly easy to spot guns and knives packed in suitcases. However, it's not so easy to detect weapons disguised as other objects like cell phones.

"This is a 50,000 volt stun gun," Sarnella showed News 5. "The taser portions are up here (at the top of the phone) and the activator switch is on the side."

This taser packs the same punch as those used by many law enforcement agencies, and that's not the only alarming weapon discovered at a checkpoint.

"These are real hand grenades," Sarnella said. "We've also seized a home-made machete. It's kind of unusual but somebody took a long time to make this."

There's also knives that have been hidden in lipstick containers and stowed away in what looks like a credit card.

Sarnella also showed us a sophisticated sword hidden in a walking cane.

"This looks like your regular, ordinary cane, but it's not," Sarnella said. "This is very detectable and easily observed and recognized. We're extremely careful about looking at the items that come through."

In the last six months, more than 7,100 pounds of prohibited items have been collected from checkpoints at DIA. TSA Agents say it's proof they are doing their job.

So far, TSA Agents have seized 1 firearm at the Colorado Springs Airport.

To see a list of weapons seized at airports across the nation, visit

Below is a list of items prohibited on both carry-on and checked bags:
*Blasting caps
*Flares and fireworks
*Hand grenades
*Plastic explosives
*Realistic replicas of explosives
*Lighters and lighter fluid
*Gas torches
*Flammable paints
*Flammable liquid, gels, or aerosol



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