TSA Takes Drug Bribes at LAX

By Valerie Tejeda 04/26/12

Airport security personnel accepted cash to let large amounts of cocaine, marijuana and meth through.

At least they didn't let any toothpaste past
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The Transportation Security Administration might not have the best rep with travelers in a hurry to get airborne, but a few TSA screeners have helped people get high smoothly. Four TSA screeners have been arrested for taking cash in exchange for allowing drugs to pass through security checkpoints at LAX. Authorities say large amounts of marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine were all allowed through LAX security checkpoints—including X-ray machines—by two former and two current TSA employees who accepted bribes of up to $2,400. "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,'' said US Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. Authorities cite five distinct drug passes, occurring over a six month period last year. One involved drug courier is in custody, with another courier expected to surrender on Thursday. Identified suspect, Duane Eleby, attempted to bring five kilograms of cocaine through a security checkpoint, but was caught by by a TSA employee who was not involved in the bribing scheme after Eleby went to the wrong terminal. "While these arrests are a disappointment, TSA is committed to holding our employees to the highest standards," said Randy Parsons, TSA Federal Security Director at LAX. All four employees will face a minimum of 10 years in federal prison if convicted.

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix, Salon.com, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.