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Four TSA agents at Los Angeles International Airport have been helping drug smugglers pass through security with large amounts cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs, according to a 22-count federal indictment unsealed Wednesday.
The Associated Press reports that a total of seven people—three alleged drug couriers and four TSA agents—are facing charges for five incidents over a six-month period last year in which the agents allegedly accepted payments of up to $2,400 to allow the smugglers through security and onto their outbound flights. If convicted, the TSA agents face life in prison.
Prosecutors say that a 30-year-old former TSA employee, Naral Richardson, was the mastermind behind the scheme, arranging for drug couriers and the screeners to meet beforehand and providing cellphones to facilitate the walk-throughs, one of which included 44 pounds of cocaine, according to the Los Angeles Times. Richardson and the others are said to have used code words, such as "white girls" to refer to cocaine or "Green Bay Packers" to mean marijuana, when discussing the drugs.
As the AP explains, the scheme was foiled when one courier's 10 pounds of cocaine were found after he had gone to the wrong terminal last February, setting off a series of undercover investigations that led to Wednesday’s indictment. You can read more about the case over at the Times.