Man charged with sneaking a weapon past airport security is free to go

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A New York man charged with sneaking a knife through security at the Salt Lake International Airport is now free to go.

A federal judge released Cardon Ellis Friday morning on the conditions he checks in with pre-trial services daily, and has no dangerous weapons in his possession.

"The judge made it clear to Mr. Ellis that this is not a joking matter," said Assistant U.S. Attorney John Huber.

Ellis, 27, was a ticketed passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight on Wednesday when, according to court documents, he bragged to another passenger that he could get a knife through security without being stopped.

After passing the TSA checkpoint, Ellis approached the other passenger and showed him the knife, according to the complaint. The passenger became alarmed and notified a TSA official.

FBI special agent Dan Horan stated in the complaint that a review of video surveillance showed Ellis removing an object believed to be the knife from his person and placing it in a carry-on bag.

When questioned by TSA officials, Ellis produced a Gerber Multi-Tool with several knife blades, including one about 3 inches long, the complaint states.

Upon being read his Miranda rights, Ellis "admitted that he knowingly brought the knife through the security checkpoint by artfully concealing it to avoid detection," the complaint says.

A family member in the courtroom who did not want to be identified said after the hearing that Ellis is "just a kid who was trying to be funny."

Some of Ellis' friends created a "Free Cardon!" group on Facebook. One entry reads, "Free the man so he can continue to make us laugh, oh wait, he still is with his comments in city jail."

On his Salt Lake County Jail booking sheet, he listed his aliases as "Slick Cardon" and "Good Looking."

If convicted of intentionally taking a dangerous weapon on a plane Ellis could face 10 years in federal prison.

Story compiled with contributions from Anne Forester and Dennis Romboy.

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