ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - A customs agent praised for preventing the so-called "20th hijacker" from entering the U.S. before the 9/11 terror attacks has been demoted over the theft of his service weapon and computer.
Jose Melendez-Perez was removed from the Orlando Joint Terrorism Task Force and handed a desk job after the incident six months ago. He also faces a two-week suspension without pay.
The Orlando Sentinel reported Monday that Melendez-Perez is appealing for reinstatement with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The gun and laptop computer were stolen from a van Melendez-Perez drove home one weekend in violation of department policy.
Melendez-Perez in August 2001 denied U.S. entry to Mohammed Qahtani, the supposed "20th hijacker."