About this iReport
  • Not verified by CNN

  • Click to view sherry1702's profile
    Posted June 2, 2014 by
    spring lake, North Carolina
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Sound off

    Injustice in New York City

    To Whom This May Concern,
    I am writing to you about an injustice being done to citizens from around the country by New York City. I would certainly appreciate it if you could take the time to read my story.
    On May 4th at approximately 11:30 am my sister was arrested by the Port Authority in LaGuardia Airport, handcuffed, strip searched and all of her luggage, purse, and jewelry confiscated.
    Where this began: My sister’s boyfriend, who has lived with her for approximately one and a half years, left to go back home to New York City to care for his elderly parents. While packing, he accidently took my sisters gun in his clothes. He drove, he did not fly. My sister planned on flying to New York and retrieving her gun and returning to North Carolina with it. In preparation, we called Fayetteville and LaGuardia airports and asked for the rules on transporting a gun. TSA provided the protocol for transporting a gun. We were told to put it in a hard case, locked, unloaded, bullets outside of gun but could be placed in the hard case as well. We also looked up the law on the internet which said the same thing. She was told to declare it with her luggage, so she did. When she declared it the attendant told her it would be an additional charge of $35.00 (luggage fee). She asked if it could be placed in the other piece of luggage to save on cost. The attendant said she was not sure but would find out. She went to the back, came back out with a man following her. My sister asked her what they said, she said he said it was fine. Then he asked the attendant if she had talked to Port Authority, she said no. At this time they (Port Authority police) came up, she explained to them that she was transporting the gun back to North Carolina, at that time they placed her under arrest, handcuffed her and took her. Please note that my sister has never been in trouble, not even a speeding ticket. She is a day care owner in Fayetteville NC with an upstanding reputation as a business woman and respected by all of her community. Approximately 7 hours later she was transported to Jamaica Queens and thrown in a cell. In her description of the cell it housed 9 other women, with a few metal benches and words written in feces on the walls, a place that no one should have to be placed. She remained there all night and most of the next day. She went before the judge at approximately 5:00 pm the next day. She and I were told she was facing a mandatory 3.5 year sentence and that the charge was a class C felony. We hired an attorney, Mr. Kornburg, to defend her. I had her flown back to Raleigh where I picked her up after being released by her own recognizance. Due to the trauma that my sister went through for the last 48 hours I did not even recognize her. She has been forever changed from this experience mentally and emotionally.
    We went back to New York for court on Wednesday May 28th, court being held on the 29th. She appeared before the judge with her attorney. The charges were lowered to disorderly conduct with a fine of $360.00. We were lucky because they could have done anything to her and we had no recourse. She and I flew out on the evening of the 29th to come back home. As we approached the airport, there we found a large sign outside of US Airlines stating the protocol for transporting a firearm, the exact protocol that she followed. (See attached photo of sign) From what we have read on the internet and from what the attorney said this happens all the time. This should NOT be happening. What would have happened to my sister if we did not have the resources to retain the attorney? I am in hopes that you will investigate this injustice. I am appalled as well as scared for the citizens of the United States and elsewhere who are also misinformed and fly through New York City. Please feel free to contact me or my sister for any further information that you may need.
    My name:
    Sherry Moston
    185 Gallery Drive Unit 104
    Spring Lake, NC 28390
    My sister:
    Carolyn Usategui
    5809 Lady Way
    Fayetteville, NC 28348

    Add your Story Add your Story