SF Airport Screeners Charged With Cocaine Smuggling
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A trio of San Francisco International Airport security screeners have been arrested, charged with fraud and cocaine smuggling after accepting payoffs to let luggage through that they were told contained the drug, the Associated Press reported.
Turns out, the whole thing was an undercover sting operation conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, according to federal prosecutors.
The three screeners were paid to look the other way on five separate occasions before being busted, prosecutors said, according to the AP. Joseph Scott, Michael Castaneda, and Jessica Scott were employed by security subcontractor Covenant Aviation Security and responsible for operating airport electronic screening and inspecting baggage, the AP stated, adding that the company did not return a Saturday phone call for comment.
Joseph Scott and Jessica Scott were released on a $50,000 bond each Friday, but Castaneda is still incarcerated, pending a detention hearing Monday, the AP said.
If convicted, the maximum sentence for smuggling over 10 pounds of cocaine is life in prison, the AP noted.
Another recent addition to the list of air travel-related cocaine shenanigans occurred in late October, when a flight attendant attempted to smuggle 6.5 pounds of the drug from Montego Bay, Jamaica to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in his spandex compression underwear. Apparently not the type to keep cool under pressure, his visible nervousness tipped off customs, who conducted a search and discovered the contraband.
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