Security officials at John Wayne Airport arrested a man after they found a loaded handgun in his carry-on bag, the second time he has been accused of such an attempt, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Minhchau Pham, 43, of Hillsborough, California, was arrested Monday about 7:15 p.m. while on his way to board Southwest flight 458 to Las Vegas, Transportation Safety Administration spokesman Nico Melendez said.
"The passenger put his carry-on bag on the X-ray belt and security officers saw a loaded .38 caliber Smith & Wesson with five rounds of ammunition," Melendez said.
Melendez said passengers are allowed to transport handguns but must follow the rules.
"As long as they are in checked baggage, unloaded and declared to the airline," Melendez said.
Investigators determined that Pham had been arrested on suspicion of trying to bring a similar weapon onto a plane at the San Jose airport in 2005, said Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino.
"The reason he had it, we don't know," Amormino said. "But it is the second time, so we're taking a closer look at it."
Amormino said travelers should be careful about what they put in their luggage.
"We want people to be very mindful of what they take to the airport, especially a loaded weapon, but anything that could be used as a weapon," Amormino said.
Pham, who listed his occupation as real estate, was in the process of posting $20,000 bail this afternoon, according to sheriff's officials.