William M. Hurtubise. Picture by Ashwinee Pati
Bhubaneswar, Sept. 18: A 27-year-old US national was arrested at Biju Patnaik airport here today for carrying eight live bullets in his bag.
William M. Hurtubise, a mechanical engineer based in Houston, Texas, was about to board a private chopper to Paradip around 8.30am when Central Industrial Security Force jawans detained him after eight live bullets of .22mm calibre were found in his bag during scanning.
However, no gun was found in his possession. The US national was immediately handed over to police, who booked him under Section 25 of the Arms Act.
William, who claimed that he was going to Paradip for the inspection of a ship engine, said he possessed a licence for firearms and ammunition. The bullets, he said, were in his bag as he had forgotten to check it before leaving his country.
“I left the US on Sunday. I am supposed to stay here for 14 days. I have a licence for firearms and ammunition at my home. The bullets were in my bag, but I forgot to check it before leaving my country,” he said. However, he failed to produce his gun licence before the police.
Sources said William was working as a service engineer with STX Service, a US-based company engaged in manufacturing and servicing medium and slow speed diesel engines. Vantage Drilling, a foreign company, had contracted him to inspect a ship engine currently anchored off the Paradip coast.
“William had landed in Bhubaneswar from Delhi on Tuesday and spent the night at a hotel in Jayadev Vihar before leaving for the airport,” a senior police officer said.
The police officer said investigation was on to verify William’s claim that he had carried the bullets with him from the US. “He must had gone through security checks while boarding the flight from the US and Delhi,” he said.
The police are also investigating whether William had procured the bullets from Bhubaneswar. Bullets of .22mm calibre are available aplenty here and in other areas of the state.
“We have got in touch with the US embassy. We are investigating if he carried any arms,” said deputy commissioner of police Nitinjeet Singh.
An official of the Airports Authority of India said there was very little chance of the bullets escaping the X-ray scanner in Delhi, from where he flew to Bhubaneswar on Tuesday.