- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Robert Guerrero, preparing to challenge welterweight titleholder and pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 4, was arrested Thursday morning at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York after attempting to board a flight to Las Vegas with an unloaded gun.
Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs), who turned 30 on Wednesday, was arraigned on gun possession charges later Thursday and released on his own recognizance.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said Guerrero has been charged with illegally traveling with an unloaded pistol and three unloaded high-capacity bullet magazines. The weapon and 15-bullet clips were discovered during a routine preflight check-in, Brown said.
"I hope that Mr. Guerrero fights better than he thinks," Brown said. "For anyone who hasn't gotten the message, let me be crystal clear: You cannot bring an unlicensed weapon -- loaded or unloaded -- into this county or this city. And if you do you will be arrested and face felony charges."
Brown said Guerrero is charged with one count of criminal possession of a firearm and three counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.
"Earlier this year, New York State enacted the nation's toughest gun restrictions -- the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013," Brown said. "One provision of that law is that the penalty for possessing an unloaded firearm is raised from being a Class A misdemeanor to being a Class E felony.
"It is therefore more important than ever that if a passenger chooses to travel with a weapon, they should first acquaint themselves with the weapon laws of the jurisdiction that they are visiting and comply with any and all legal requirements. Otherwise, they may find themselves being arrested and charged with a felony -- as is what occurred in this case."
Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer, who is promoting the Mayweather-Guerrero fight, told ESPN.com that, despite the charges, the fight will go on as planned. He said he spoke to Guerrero on Thursday afternoon and that he was on his way back to Las Vegas to resume training. Schaefer said Guerrero's next court appearance won't be until May 14.
"Robert will have to show up in court in New York and have to explain himself, but there are no implications on the fight," Schaefer said.
According to the charges, Guerrero presented a locked gun box to a Delta Airlines ticket agent at about 6:46 a.m. ET as he checked in for his flight, and it contained an unloaded Smith & Wesson M&P .40-caliber handgun and three unloaded magazines with the capacity to hold 15 rounds of ammunition. At that point, police were called.
According to the police report, Guerrero told authorities that he possessed the unloaded firearm when he arrived in New York from Virginia on Monday.
Guerrero, who is from Gilroy, Calif., and is training for the fight in Las Vegas, had been on the East Coast for a few days to make several appearances to promote the Showtime pay-per-view fight against Mayweather, which will be held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Guerrero, a Christian who has spoken publicly about his faith, appeared on the "700 Club" with Pat Robertson in Norfolk, Va., then visited ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., to tape interviews, and hosted a media lunch in New York on Tuesday.
After wrapping up the promotional blitz, he was headed back to Las Vegas to resume training for the fight.
A source told ESPN.com that Guerrero has a permit to carry a gun in California, but is not licensed in New York, where gun laws are among the strictest in the nation.
Showtime spokesman Chris DeBlasio told ESPN.com the network had no comment.
Guerrero's co-manager, Luis DeCubas Jr., who was traveling with him, could not be reached. He did not respond to a text message, and his voice mailbox was full.
18hBy Jackie MacMullan