Society

TSA Drug Smugglers Arrested in Undercover Sting at LAX

| by Michael Allen

Duane Eleby, a suspected drug courier, was planning to sneak 10 pounds of cocaine through a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in February with the help of a Transportation Security Administration employee.

Instead of going to Terminal 6 where his TSA contact, Joy White, was working, Eleby went to Terminal 5 where his plane was scheduled to depart.

Allegedly, the plan was to have Eleby use a secure tunnel linking the two terminals after he was allowed through security by White.

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However, Elby got caught by a different TSA screener at Terminal 5.

After Eleby's arrest, federal agents set up a sting where informants were able to pass cocaine and methamphetamine through security checkpoints.

A 22-count indictment says that TSA employees took payments of up to $2,400 to provide access to drug couriers at LAX over a six-month period last year.

U.S. 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."

Seven people are facing charges, including Eleby.