TSA Screeners Indicted For Allowing Narcotics Shipments To Pass Through LAX Security Checkpoints
Two current and two former Transportation Security Administration screeners were named today in a federal indictment accusing them of taking bribes to allow large drug shipments to pass through X-ray machines and security checkpoints at Los Angeles International Airport.
The quartet (and three codefendants) were nabbed as part of a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation that relied on a confidential source who dealt directly with the probe’s targets.
The two current TSA employees charged are John Whitfield, 23, and Capeline McKinney, 25. The former TSA employees named in the 22-count indictment are 27-year-old Joy White, who was terminated last year, and Naral “YS” Richardson, 30, who was terminated in 2010.
According to investigators, Richardson was the operation’s ringleader and paymaster, and would arrange for Whitfield, McKinney, and White to allow drug shipments to pass through checkpoints, though a check of their monitors would reveal “narcotics inside the bags or suitcases.”
Richardson’s Facebook page includes a photo of him throwing a sign, displaying a gaudy “YS” pendant (see left), and counting money (complete with the caption “I TOLD U ITS NOT AH GAME”). Also, as seen above, he included a shot of some favorite baseball caps, his diamond-studded pendant, and five rolls of cash held together with rubber bands.
If convicted of the federal narcotics charges, the four TSA defendants could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in custody (and a maximum of life in prison).