TSA Agents Accused Of Taking Bribes To Let Drugs Through LAX Checkpoints

While the TSA blog loves to brag about all the weapons the agency’s screeners have taken off travelers, this news probably won’t be posted with pride on the kitchenette bulletin board at TSA HQ.

Last night and this morning, authorities arrested two current and two former screeners at Los Angeles International Airport for allegedly taking bribes to not notice that travelers were secreting stashes of coke, meth and pot in their suitcases.

From the L.A. Times:

The 40-page indictment outlines five alleged smuggling incidents over a six-month period last year. In one incident, screeners schemed to allow for about eight pounds of methamphetamine to pass through security, then went to an airport restroom where he was handed $600, the second half of the payment for that delivery, according to prosecutors.

If convicted, the screeners could end up behind bars for the rest of their lives.

“While these arrests are a disappointment, TSA is committed to holding our employees to the highest standards,” a TSA rep tells the Times.

High standards that include investigating potentially dangerous hugs between grandmother and granddaughter and not knowing how to determine whether or not a 7-year-old’s crutches don’t contain weapons of mass destruction.

TSA screeners allegedly let drug-filled luggage through LAX for cash [LA Times]

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  1. bennilynn says:

    I feel safer already.

    • vastrightwing says:

      This is the fallacy of the TSA. Since most people understand security is all theater, the question one must ask is the real reason the TSA is there. My best guess is the theater is there to test out high tech equipment using real life people and to control the borders, much the way China did with the Great Wall. Then to make money from the passengers by charging a security fee, then finding drugs and weapons and helping to keep the wrong people from entering or leaving.

    • Promethean Sky says:

      Don’t worry, it was an isolated incident.

  2. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I am shocked. No, shocked AND appalled. Who could have guessed that by trolling for employees on pizza boxes could have these consequences?

  3. Timbojones says:

    Why are they even looking for drugs?

    NOT YOUR JOB.

    • dakeypoo says:

      But, but, they also have to make sure you’re not carrying too much cash even though it’s not illegal and not suspicious at all.

      SECURITY THEATRE.

    • yankinwaoz says:

      I was going to say the same thing. TSA agents are not trained and sworn law enforcement officers. Having drugs on the plane is not a safety issue. Their job, and only job, is to keep weapons off the passengers. NOTHING more.

      When I first read this, I was thinking that someone confused customs with TSA. Were these drugs being brought in overseas? Or were these domestic flights?

    • Sian says:

      they’re looking for drugs because THEY WANT DRUGS. I think the TSA piss screenings are a bit too far apart and announced well ahead of time.

    • nbs2 says:

      Indeed.

      Irony of all this is that if they were being accused of simply ignoring suitcases of drugs, I would have applauded them for not engaging in scope creep. It was the taking of bribes, indicating their susceptability to accepting cash in exchange for allowing what they perceive to be contraband, that has me calling for their testicles to be nails to a wall.

    • SmokeyBacon says:

      My only guess is that the people doing the bribing didn’t know it wasn’t their job, and the TSA folks just took advantage of that stupidity to make some extra money. Not that it is any better that they did it but I have to have a little bit of hope that they are not going outside the scope of their jobs and looking for drugs too.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      It’s not so much about the TSA not looking for drugs as them aiding and abetting in the commission of a crime(drug smuggling) on the job. Just because their primary function in airline/flight security & safety that doesn’t mean they should turn a blind eye to potential drug smuggling. They should not have arrest or investigative powers when it comes to drug smuggling but they should be required to report suspicious activity to the proper authorities even if the police.

      To top it off how safe is an airplane passenger cabin if all that powered coke became airbourne or some waffle head gorged on the meth that spilled into the aisles.

  4. CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

    Well at least when they are out on bond they can flee to Mexico and get a job with Walmart.

  5. evilpete says:

    Does it even need said that if TSA can be bribed I to allowing drugs the can be bribed for other things as well.

    • vastrightwing says:

      SIR! I can’t believe you alluded to such a possibility! They have the “highest” standards. now THERE!

    • Firethorn says:

      Personally, I’m opposed to the war on drugs. I might let drugs through, but i’m not about to let a bomb on board. Of course, neither do I work for the TSA.

      On the other hand, I’m also unlikely to accept a bribe to ignore drugs in the first place; offering one is a good way to get me to report the whole thing.

      • CanadianDominic says:

        You’re right, I’m sure we can trust a briber to be honest “Hey TSA guy I’m paying cash to in the bathroom, dont look in the blue suitcase, it has DRUGS in it” …

        If your instructions are to not screen the blue bag too heavily because it has a half pound of weed in it under the bathrobe, behind the toothbrush, then instead of putting weed in the bag, you place a BOMB certainly?

  6. MeowMaximus says:

    Why am I not surprised? We don’t need the TSA’s security theater any more.

  7. bluline says:

    How anyone can defend this pitiful excuse for an organization is beyond me. Honestly, are there any true TSA supporters out there, and if so, on what basis do you place your trust in them?

  8. arcticJKL says:

    They should get the death penalty.

  9. Mike says:

    Well, there ya go. If the kid had handed an envelope to the TSA agent, she could hug her grandma all she wanted.

  10. ChrisC1234 says:

    I am totally not surprised. A few years ago, I took the subway/tram to LAX for a 6 AM flight. The only people on the train were me and all of the TSA screeners going to work. It was then that I realized all it would take to get something past security would be a couple thousand bucks or so. Turns out it was even cheaper than I thought it would be.

  11. SilverBlade2k says:

    honestly..not surprised.

    Everybody has their price

  12. mingtae says:

    Good thing they were smuggled in luggage and not something obvious like a cupcake jar.

  13. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    So the government is filled with bribe takers from the lowly TSA agent all the way to Congress.

  14. Fisher1949 says:

    It’s been a busy week for TSA. They molested three children, a ten year old with a diabetes pump, a four year old who hugged her grandma and a seven year old with cerebral palsy. They also sexually assaulted a Congressman and four TSA screeners were arrested for smuggling drugs through LAX.

    Let’s hear it from the TSA apologists who continue to say that this crime and abuse by TSA is somehow improving airline security.

    There were a total of 91 TSA workers arrested in the last 16 months including 12 arrested for child sex crimes, over 25 for theft, ten for smuggling and even one for murder. Crime, abuse and incompetence is so widespread in TSA that even Kip Hawley, the last TSA Director, has called for its overhaul.

    This just demonstrates how stupid and sick the whole TSA approach is and why it needs to be overhauled. TSA has done more damage to our liberty, way of life and morality than Al Qaeda could have ever hoped to do.

    It’s long past time to replace this agency with a sensible and effective system.

    • katarzyna says:

      X1000

      The TSA are a disgrace.

    • ChrisC1234 says:

      Let’s hear it from the TSA apologists who continue to say that this crime and abuse by TSA is somehow improving airline security.

      Where are these mythical creatures of whom you speak? I believe they only exist in the world of make-believe.

      • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

        They live in the world at the other side of a double rainbow that comes from a unicorn’s queef.

    • n0th1ng says:

      How about the millions every day who fly and go through security with no problems? A handful of problems out of several million and you want the TSA shut down. OK by that logic lets ban cars from public roads because a handful of people get injured or die in car accidents everyday, therefore cars must be unsafe and need to be banned.

  15. Vox Republica says:

    “While these arrests are a disappointment”

    No, these arrests are not a disappointment. They are a substantial security breach that patently demonstrates the inefficacy of your agency. Forgetting to record a show you wanted to watch, that’s a disappointment. Your favorite baseball team blowing a save, that’s a disappointment.

    Can we re-train this TSA rep? They clearly need it.

  16. GrandizerGo says:

    Lord, I hope, nah I pray that the terrorists don’t have 1200 dollars to bribe these TSA agents to let their weapons into our safe and secure skies.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      That’s the point. They took BRIBES to ignore or not do their job. It is not about drug smuggling.

      Although the people in charge of keeping you safe and/or treat you like a crimal if forget to suitcase your nail clippers or leatherman should not be allowed to commit crimes while on the job.

  17. Bodger says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/tsa-lets-airports-hire-before-clearances-completed-because-of-backlog-in-security-checks/2012/04/26/gIQAJRApiT_story.html

    We shouldn’t have to worry about TSA agents letting drugs through, at least in Atlanta. Now it appears that virtually anybody will be eligible to access the planes directly and stow their drugs themselves. Cutting out the middle men makes good business sense.

  18. mikedt says:

    Does this mean if I slip the TSA agent a five-er I can skip having my junk felt up?

  19. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    I wonder if they would take bribes not to grope me?

  20. CelticWhisper says:

    God dammit, if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times.

    STOP.

    CALLING THEM.

    AGENTS.

    They are not “agents.” They are not “officers.” They are clerks, or “screeners” AT BEST. Do not offer any more legitimacy to an organization that is not legitimate in its actions, methods, or intentions. Do not invoke imagery of highly-trained and professional law-enforcement figures when referring to the mouth-breathing child molesters of the TSA.

  21. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    What does this say about the government that pays for, trains and implements laws for the TSA? What does say about our government that keeps defending this obviously broken and useless organization?

    We really have to look at the bigger picture here and realize the TSA is a symptom of a larger enabling entity that is increasingly illegitimate on just about every level.

  22. oldwiz65 says:

    why is anyone surprised?

  23. deathbecomesme says:

    Plomo o plata

  24. evilpete says:

    I wonder if coke or methamphetamine can be made into a bomb.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I’d be more worried about an unarmed terrorist doing all the coke & meth they want. They could cause alot of havoc until or if they are subdued.

  25. dush says:

    Giving the government power like this just invites corruption.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Wouldn’t it be true even if it weren’t government power?

      • dush says:

        The government has the power to arrest you.
        If it was just an airline with an overbearing security service we could vote with our wallet and switch to a different airline.

  26. RandomHookup says:

    Arlo Guthrie said it best back in 1969:

    Coming into Los Angeles
    Bringing in a couple of keys
    Don’t touch my bags if you please
    Mister Customs Man

  27. Harry Greek says:

    Lets see,… employ people who have a past with criminal activity,… for a job that is responsible for deterring criminal activity.

    Yes. Nothing can go wrong. In fact, they will most likely do really well at their jobs and shine as awesome customer service friendly people who will make flying pleasurable for all.

  28. axiomatic says:

    High standards…. like not even having to have a GED to be employed by the TSA.

    Ran in to one TSA agent recently that, if you are old enough to remember, sounded like “Mush Mouth” from the Fat Albert show. ( He was Caucasian so I’m not making a racial slur you PC freaks.)

    Thankfully we both were able to communicate with grunts and head nods.

  29. CorporationsSuck says:

    One more Bush and we can close the doors for good.

    My wife and I were in a TSA line in Dallas and I told her “the way TSA treats people is pure bullshit”. A large agent came over and told me “no cursing in line allowed – SIR”.

    These are the same minimum wage cretins we had before 911, except dubya tripled there salary and seemed to get rid of anyone with an once of sense. Weenies, that we are, we just accept it. May they all rot in Hell!