Illegal Immigrant Spends 20 Years as Security Guard at Newark International Airport

Apparently some things do slip through airport security.

For the last 20 years, an illegal immigrant has worked as a security guard at Newark International Airport in New Jersey.

The guard, who went by the name Jerry Smith, was arrested last week at his home in New Jersey after an anonymous tipster alerted authorities.

It turns out that Jerry Smith is really Bimbo Olumuyiwa Oyewole, a 54-year-old Nigerian immigrant who came to the United States in 1989.

According to news reports, Oyewole used Jerry Smith’s identity after Smith was murdered in Queens in 1992 in order to become a security guard at the airport.

While working at Newark Airport, Oyewole supervised 30 other security guards and could access tarmac and passenger planes.

"In this case, the defendant utilized an elaborate and complex scheme of identity theft to defraud his employer, the State of New Jersey, the federal government and the Port Authority," said Robert Van Etten, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Inspector.

The incident raises obvious questions about security at our biggest airports. If the people in charge of protecting us from threats and terrorists don’t know who their own staff is, how can we trust them to keep us safe?

Interestingly, this story broke the same day the General’s Office of the Transportation Security Administration criticized Newark Airport’s TSA officials in a report, stating that TSA officials took “corrective actions in 42 percent of the security breaches shown in its records.” The report also said TSA doesn’t have a “comprehensive oversight program in order to collate information on security breaches and, consequently, cannot monitor trends or make improvements to security."

How was “Jerry Smith” able to conceal his real identity from the security staff for 20 years?

News reports say Oyewole was able to retrieve Jerry Smith’s birth certificate and social security card. He then used those documents to get a New Jersey’s driver’s license, state security guard license and credit cards. Oyewole passed background checks conducted by state police and federal government.

Is this a case of identity theft or something bigger? Do you blame the security guard or the airport?

Read the full story here.

Posted by Ariel Brouillard on May 15, 2012


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