Nashville airport police ramp up efforts to catch drugs

Nashville 2019

BNA is giving flight to a record-breaking number of people, up nearly 20 percent from this time last year with about 1.7 million travelers in May alone.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – News 2 is committed to tracking Nashville’s growing pains. One of the places seeing the biggest increase in traffic is the Nashville International Airport (BNA) and police say with more people, comes more problems.

BNA is continually breaking passenger records, up nearly 20 percent from this time last year with about 1.7 million travelers in May alone. In just one of those days, airport security screened almost 30,000 people.

“I think when I started here, we were right around 5 million, that was about 14 years ago,” said Capt. Christopher Shuff with the airport Operations Division.

They’ve caught 60 guns this year and several large quantities of drugs.

“When I say large quantities, we’re talking pounds and pounds upwards of 25 pounds in a suitcase to multiple suitcases with 25 pounds in it,” Shuff said. “A lot of the stuff we get is probably more for street distribution and larger narcotics sales. I don’t think it’s ignorance at all, it’s just people trying to beat the system and ship that stuff through.

Big busts this year included 160 pounds of marijuana and nearly 50 pounds of THC edible gummies. This past week, they caught 99 THC vape pens, all illegal leading to charges of possession with intent to distribute.

“We’ve expanded our investigative division so that’s given us more eyes to put on it,” Shuff said, “We have a great task force out here with the DEA, but also assist with that so I think just putting all those minds together, coming up with more knowledge of the transportation industry, and drugs and we’re just making those large busts now.”

Nashville airport officers are actually all police, firefighters, and EMS in one. Currently employing 80 officers, they’re actively hiring more staff to keep up.

“We’re expanding our divisions with the more officers we get the more eyes we have on this activity so we can make those busts and keep the people of Nashville safe when they come to BNA,” Shuff said.

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