Three TSA Agents Arrested for Drug Smuggling Ring at San Francisco International Airport

TSA checker AP

Three airport security screeners at San Francisco International Airport were arrested by the FBI on charges of running a drug smuggling ring out of the airport, according to a Department of Justice press release.

According to the DOJ statement, Joseph Scott, 53, Michael Castaneda, 32, Jessica Scott, 27 — all of whom are former TSA agents at San Francisco International Airport — were engaged in a conspiracy to transport drugs through their role as airport security.

The FBI opened an investigation using undercover agents after being alerted to the scheme. The press release notes:

The indictment alleges that the three defendants conspired to use their positions as Transportation Security Officers to allow passengers to smuggle real and simulated cocaine through airport security checkpoints. The defendants all were assigned to SFO. The defendants arranged for passengers carrying narcotics in their carry-on luggage to pass through the x-ray machine at a security checkpoint line without adequately screening the luggage for explosives, incendiaries, weapons, or other threats to security.

The defendants are charged with two counts, one of conspiring to defraud the TSA by obstructing a lawful government function and a second of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. The first carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000; the second carries a mandatory minimum of ten years, a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and a maximum fine of $10 million.

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