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Four current and former security officials have been arrested with charges of taking bribes to allow suitcases of cocaine, methamphetamine or marijuana go through X-ray machines at Los Angeles International Airport.

The Transport Security Administration screeners were arrested on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning on drug trafficking and corruption charges, for which they could face lifetime imprisonment.

The four screeners – Naral Richardson, 30; Joy White, 27; John Whitfield, 23; and Capeline McKinney, 25 – are accused of taking up to $2,400 in cash bribes.

It is claimed that Richardson, who was terminated from his job with the TSA in 2010, orchestrated the smuggling incidents.

Three alleged smugglers are being investigated – one has been arrested, a second surrendered to police and officers are still looking for the third.

The incidents took place between February and July 2011.

Three involved drugs being smuggled by a confidential source for the US Drug Enforcement Admnistration, but on two other occasions the airport staff let independently operating smugglers through their checkpoints.

In one instance, one of the drug couriers who had made an arrangement with an airport screener went to the wrong terminal and was stopped at a checkpoint with 4.9 kilograms of cocaine.

US Attorney Andre Birotte Jr said: "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."


TSA officials 'allowed bags full of drugs' through checks for cash
Digital Mag

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