Airport screeners held in LA drug bust

2012-04-26 12:01

Los Angeles - Four airport security screeners have been arrested in Los Angeles for accepting bribes to allow bags filled with illegal drugs to pass through a checkpoint, a federal agency announced on Wednesday.

The Transportation Security Administration screeners were paid to permit bags filled with methamphetamines and marijuana to pass through an X-ray machine, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The smuggling occurred in five incidents between February 2011 and July 2011 at Los Angeles International Airport, the DEA reported. The screeners allegedly were paid as much as $2 400.

They were charged with drug trafficking and corruption, for which they could face life imprisonment.

The four screeners were identified as Naral Richardson, 30; Joy White, 27; John Whitfield, 23; and Capeline McKinney, 25. Richardson and White are former TSA employees while Whitfield and McKinney still work for the agency.

Three alleged smugglers remain under investigation, the DEA reported. One has been arrested, a second surrendered to police while the third still is being sought.

"The allegations in this case describe a significant breakdown of the screening system through the conduct of individuals who placed greed above the nation's security needs," US Attorney Andre Birotte said in a statement.

- SAPA

Read more on:    los angeles
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