The pilot and co-pilot of a Salvadoran jetliner were arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday on suspicion of attempting to smuggle a cache of firearms to El Salvador.
Customs agents said they recovered seven semiautomatic pistols and a .12-gauge semiautomatic shotgun--known in some circles as a "streetsweeper"--after receiving a tip from an informant.
The agents said it was not immediately determined whether the weapons were intended for any organized group.
Ed Adamson, special agent in charge of the Los Angeles Customs office, said a tip that came on Friday night said the cockpit crew on Flight 2511 of TACA International Airlines--scheduled to leave at about midnight--would be attempting to smuggle the guns out of this country.
Agents checked the luggage and persons of all those boarding the plane and found nothing, Adamson said. Moments later, however, an agent saw a pair of TACA stewardesses starting to leave the terminal with some luggage. The luggage carried the identifications of the cockpit crew.