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Not So Friendly Skies: 12 Times Celebrities Got Into Serious Trouble At The Airport
Bringing a loaded gun through security and then fleeing the airport when TSA agents find it? Probably not a good idea. (Looking at you, Juelz Santana.)
Accidentally packing your pocket knife in your carry-on luggage? It’s a common mistake that many people have made, but attempting to pass through airport security with a loaded firearm is another matter entirely.
Celebrities seem to have a knack for getting into trouble at airports. Musicians Juelz Santana, Lauren Jauregui, and Gretchen Wilson, as well as actors Charlie Heaton and Rose McGowan, are among the many A-listers who have made headlines for various airport disturbances in recent years. Whether it’s trying to smuggle guns through security, packing drugs in carry-on luggage, or getting into heated arguments at 30,000 feet, there are a myriad of ways famous folks have ended up in handcuffs — or at least in hot water with airport police — while flying the friendly skies.
From public arrests to all-out melees outside crowded terminals, here are 12 times airports were the settings for some serious, often illegal, celebrity shenanigans.
1. David Henrie
Former Disney star David Henrie was arrested in September after TSA agents spotted a loaded gun in his luggage during a security screening. The 29-year-old “Wizards of Waverly Place” actor was briefly detained and booked in a local jail before being released later that same day. Henrie later explained in a social media statement that he “unintentionally” brought his gun — a loaded M&P Shield 9mm pistol, which he legally owns — to Los Angeles International Airport, and stated that he felt “humiliated” by what happened.
The L.A. City Attorney’s Office ultimately charged Henrie with one count each of carrying a loaded firearm, carrying a concealed firearm, and possessing a weapon in a sterile area of the airport, People reports.
Add Plies to the list of celebrities who have been collared for bringing a firearm into an airport. The 42-year-old rapper, whose real name is Algernod Washington, was arrested last month after TSA agents at the Tampa International Airport found a 9mm pistol, along with ammunition, in his carry-on bag. Plies did not have a permit for carrying a concealed weapon, but even if he had, he may not have avoided an arrest, as carrying a weapon into an airport is illegal in the state of Florida.
Plies’ airport arrest was captured on video and shared on social media. He was booked on one charge of carrying a concealed firearm and released the same day after posting bail.
3. Gretchen Wilson
Country music singer Gretchen Wilson was arrested at a Connecticut airport in August after getting into an altercation on her flight while waiting to use the bathroom. The “Redneck Woman” artist reportedly got frustrated with another passenger who she felt was taking too long in the restroom; after the woman almost hit Wilson with the bathroom door on her way out, a brief but fiery exchange of words occurred, one witness told WFSB. Wilson reportedly got even more irritated after the woman complained to flight staff about her behavior and, upon landing, she was met by police and taken into custody on a charge of breaching the peace. Luckily for Wilson, the charge was dropped after she agreed to donate money to charity, Billboard reports.
4. Juelz Santana
Rapper Juelz Santana landed himself in jail earlier this year after visiting Newark Liberty International Airport in March with a loaded firearm in his possession. When the 36-year-old rapper tried to get through security, TSA agents discovered the loaded Derringer .38-caliber handgun in his carry-on bag. Santana then reportedly fled the scene in a taxi, leaving his belongings behind and becoming a wanted man before surrendering to police days later. He was subsequently charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and carrying a weapon on an aircraft, according to the Associated Press.
Santana, whose real name is LaRon Louis James, entered a guilty plea to both charges in August and is scheduled to be sentenced in December. He could be slammed with up to 20 years behind bars.
5. Meek Mill
The drama reportedly erupted after Meek Mill declined to take a photo with one of the men; a fight then broke out between the two men and Meek’s entourage. The two employees — Justin Card and De’Angelo Webb — and Mill were charged with misdemeanor assault and while they weren’t arrested, officers did issue a court summons for all three. The rapper’s legal team were able to make a deal with prosecutors in October, wherein the assault charge was dropped in exchange for Meek Mill completing community service, TMZ reports.
Meek Mill isn’t the only rapper to have gotten into a fight at the airport. Tekashi69 and his entourage were involved in a multi-person brawl with another group of men outside the Los Angeles International Airport in February.
Texas rapper Acie High, one of the men in the group who fought Tekashi69’s crew, told TMZ that the fight erupted after men in Tekashi’s group continued speaking in a disrespectful manner to women that the men in Acie High’s group were dropping off at the airport. The fight began outside the terminal but spilled out in the street before the two groups eventually separated. Ultimately, everyone involved in the fracas elected not to press charges once police arrived.
7. Blac Chyna
Packing ecstasy in your carry-on bag? That’s definitely not a great idea, but someone should have told that to Blac Chyna in 2016. The polarizing reality TV star was arrested for public intoxication and possession of a controlled substance at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in January of that year, People reports. While en route to London for a professional opportunity, Chyna stopped in Austin, Texas for a connecting flight; however, she was escorted off the flight and later placed in handcuffs because she was intoxicated and “causing a disturbance,” police officials told the outlet.
When officers searched her bag that day, they reportedly found two ecstasy pills in a sunglasses case —this, in addition to Chyna allegedly “verbally abusing” a bartender earlier that day because they dared not to serve her any more alcohol, People reports. After she was taken into custody, Rob Kardashian, her partner at the time, reportedly drove 20 hours from Los Angeles to Texas to bail her out.
8. Rose McGowan
Rose McGowan’s November arrest may not have actually taken place at an airport, but it’s certainly where the trouble started. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority obtained a warrant for McGowan’s arrest in February 2017 after cocaine was found in a wallet that she’d left on a flight the month before, CNN reports. McGowan later surrendered to police on a possession of a controlled substance charge in November and pleaded not guilty. A grand jury then indicted McGowan on one felony count of cocaine possession in June, according to CNN.
McGowan commented on the warrant in an incredulous tweet last October, writing, “Are they trying to silence me? There is a warrant out for my arrest in Virginia. What a load of HORSESH-T.”
9. Lauren Jauregui
Lauren Jauregui, formerly of the girl group Fifth Harmony, was caught with marijuana while passing through security at Dulles Airport in Virginia in 2016, a day before the group was scheduled to perform in Brazil. TSA agents had Jauregui endure a secondary search, where they then discovered marijuana in her carry-on luggage and promptly called in police, TMZ reports. While early reports indicated that Jauregui was arrested, an official statement from her lawyer later contested that claim, while a Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokeswoman told People that Jauregui was released and given a summons.
“Lauren Jauregui was not arrested and detained as reported, but simply given a citation for possession of marijuana and released on her own recognizance,” her attorney, Dina LaPolt, said, according to the outlet.
Rapper and autotune king T-Pain was involved in gun drama at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in August after TSA agents found a gun in a carry-on bag belonging to the rapper, Page Six reports. The bag was being carried by T-Pain’s bodyguard, Carlos Aleili Flores, at the time and the pair were briefly detained before T-Pain provided police with a permit and the weapon was returned to him.
T-Pain later addressed the mishap in an Instagram post, describing it as an “honest mistake.” The men had simply forgotten that the gun was in the bag after cleaning up T-Pain’s home and putting the gun in the bag weeks earlier, he explained.
“NO CHARGES. NO ARRESTS. All my guns are legal, registered to me under my license to carry and out of reach of my children because I’m not a dumba--,” he wrote in the caption. “Atlanta PD unloaded the rounds and handed it right back to me, I sent it home and caught the next flight out.”
11. Charlie Heaton
“Stranger Things” star Charlie Heaton was turned away from the United States last October after a canine unit discovered traces of cocaine in his bags upon his arrival at Los Angeles International Airport, USA Today reports. Heaton avoided an arrest and charges but was forced to fly back to London until the matter was resolved.
The British-born actor returned to the U.S. six months after the mishap and described the increased media attention after the incident – which reportedly included reporters stalking his home as well as his parent’s house – as “f--king awful,” E! News reports.
“At the end of the day I just wanted to go back. I want to work and continue to work — that’s all I’ve ever done,” he said, per E! News.
12. Courtney Love
Former Hole singer Courtney Love was taken into custody at London’s Heathrow airport in 2003 after reportedly causing quite a ruckus on her trip across the pond, according to a Billboard report. Representatives for Virgin Airlines alleged that during a flight from Los Angeles to London, Love had been “disruptive” and “verbally abusive” to crew members, using “abusive language” and even refusing at one point to sit in her seat and wear her seatbelt when asked.
Love ultimately avoided any lasting repercussions. While she was initially arrested on suspicion of endangering an aircraft, police ultimately opted to release her without charging her and instead gave her a formal caution, according to Entertainment Tonight.
[Photo: Getty Images]