Duane Eleby, a suspected drug courier, was all set to sneak 10 pounds of cocaine through a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport last February with the help of a former Transportation Security Administration employee and a screener.
Eleby, however, bungled the plan by going to the wrong terminal and was arrested after another TSA screener found the cocaine, which set in motion a series of undercover operations that led to Wednesday’s announcement that two former and current TSA employees had been indicted on federal drug trafficking and bribery charges.
A 22-count indictment outlined five incidents where the TSA employees took payments of up to $2,400 to provide drug couriers unfettered access at LAX over a six-month period last year. In all, seven people are facing charges, including Eleby.
“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 U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr.