Flight Attendant Caught With 70 Pounds of Cocaine Flees LAX
Last Friday, a flight attendant heading to LaGuardia Airport in New York via L.A ran out of the Los Angeles International Airport – when she was selected for a random TSA screening – leaving behind a bag filled with cocaine.
In a report by NY Daily News, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Timothy Massino said the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers made a random selection of the flight attendant to go for secondary screening. But instead of complying, the lady kicked off her Gucci shoes, dropped her bag, and ran down an upward moving escalator to the nearest exit.
Officials said the flight attendant’s luggage contained 70 pounds of cocaine. NBC also reported that the lady spoke on the phone before making her escape.
Security Threats from ‘Insiders’
Earlier this month, TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger told a Senate committee, “We will pay particular attention to the insider threat.” The only problem with screening all the employees was that it would cost a lot of money.
Nevertheless, last year’s airport scandals involving employees showed that it was important for them to go through screening. Here are some of the scandals according to the NY Daily News:
- Baggage handlers arrested in Oakland International Airport for being part of a marijuana smuggling ring.
- TSA employee arrested in Oakland International Airport for allowing drug smugglers’ bags through the X-Ray machine.
- Baggage handlers in San Diego’s airport arrested in a drug smuggling case.
- Delta Airlines baggage handlers arrested for being part of gun smuggling ring.
This recent case highlights the need to be wary of security threats from insiders. As Marshall McClain, president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association, said in a statement, “Just like traveling passengers, airport and airline employees should undergo the same screening to help decrease the opportunities for these employees to commit crimes and to help eliminate ‘insider’ or ‘lone wolf’ criminal activity.”
He added to the Associated Press (AP), “With [the flight attendant] bringing this amount of narcotics in the airport, chances are this wasn’t her first time through. We’re hoping this is a wake-up call to airport management as well as federal legislators.”
McClain said there was no way anyone would trust a drug mule with “$2 million worth” of the cocaine the flight attendant was carrying if it was the first time. Therefore, this security lapse will increase pressure on officials to screen all the airline employees every time like passengers.
Federal authorities are saying the flight attendant – who has not been identified to the public – is still-at-large.