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Man bolts from TSA pat-down fearing discovery of marijuana cigarette

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The FBI says a 35-year-old Kauai man who said he was hiding a marijuana cigarette under his clothes near his groin bolted from one Transportation Security Administration screener who was conducting a pat-down and shoved another screener at Honolulu Airport on Saturday.

Federal prosecutors charged Bronson Wells Howard, of Hanalei, with impeding one screener from doing his job and assaulting the other.

Howard made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court today and remains in custody at the Federal Detention Center.

The FBI says when Howard showed up at the security checkpoint, he asked to opt out of the body scanner screening. That called for a pat-down in a secondary screening area. During the pat-down the FBI says the screener felt a small object on Howard’s left leg near the groin and told Howard that “the anomaly needed to be resolved.”

At that point Howard began grabbing his possessions and attempted to put his shoes on. All Howard was able to get away with was one shoe and his cellular telephone, the FBI says. Howard then ran from the screening area, shoving a second screener and avoiding the grasp of a third, and out of the terminal.

The FBI says private airport security officers stopped and detained Howard near a parking structure and turned him over to state sheriff deputies. Near where the security officers stopped Howard they found a length of white tape with what appeared to be pubic hair attached.

Howard said the object near his groin was a marijuana cigarette that he discarded when he ran from the terminal. The FBI said Howard cut off the interview when the agent pressed him on where he discarded the cigarette and whether or not he was carrying any other contraband.

The FBI says authorities using law enforcement dogs searched the area but did not find the cigarette or any other drugs.

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