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Security screeners in spotlight over cocaine and theft

June 30, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

American airport security screeners working for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are sometimes accused of intrusive pat-down searches or heavy-handed tactics – but the two latest cases involve theft and bribery.

A screener who worked at San Francisco International Airport in a supervisory capacity has pleaded guilty to taking a bribe and looking the other way as almost 23 kilograms of cocaine rolled through his X-ray scanning machine.

KPIX-TV in San Francisco reported that the screener pleaded guilty to receiving a bribe as a public official.

Court documents say he accepted a bribe of up to USD 4500.

The man who bribed him (and who was jailed last week for four years) was apparently involved in a marijuana and cocaine smuggling racket.  Seven Bay Area airport screeners face similar charges and CBS has reported that one of them, a female TSA screener at Oakland International Airport “will shortly start 21-month sentence for smuggling suitcases filled with marijuana through security”.

Meanwhile, in an entirely separate case, a TSA agent working at Orlando International Airport in Florida was arrested last week for removing cash from a female passenger’s bag while she went through security.

News channel WFTV Orlando said the victim had been selected for a pat-down search after entering one of the airport’s TSA checkpoints. The victim alleges she was positioned so that she couldn’t see her bag, but she noticed another male TSA agent lurking near her bag. She later found money was missing and noticed a wad of cash bulging through the suspect’s shirt pocket.

The agent denied anything improper but security footage allegedly told another story and showed him in the act.

The TSA has since reiterated its “zero tolerance policy for misconduct.”

The suspect was taken straight to the Orange County Jail and is now on bail.

Written by Peter Needham

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