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Corrupt TSA Screener Who Allowed Drugs through LAX Checkpoints Sentenced to Seven Years in Federal Prison


SEP 22 (LOS ANGELES) – A former Transportation Security Administration employee who conspired to smuggle narcotics through screening checkpoints at Los Angeles International Airport was sentenced today to 80 months in prison.

Naral Richardson, 32, of South Los Angeles, the facilitator of the scheme involving three TSA screeners at LAX, was sentenced by United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow.

Richardson is the last of seven defendants in this case to be sentenced to federal prison. Richardson made arrangements for 45 kilograms of cocaine, 4 kilograms of methamphetamine and 22 kilograms of marijuana to be allowed through LAX security screening checkpoints.

Richardson pleaded guilty in March to a drug-trafficking conspiracy count, admitting he used his contacts at LAX to facilitate and profit from five “pass-throughs” of narcotics. During these undercover operations, he arranged for corrupt TSA screeners to look the other way as couriers carried suitcases containing drugs through the airport intended for nationwide distribution. As part of the scheme, Richardson arranged for couriers and corrupt screeners to meet beforehand so they would recognize each other and to ensure the courier would get into the correct screening lane. He took as much as $1000 per “pass-through” as payment.

"This sentence underscores law enforcement's continuing commitment to root out drug traffickers, particularly those who violate public trust in furtherance of their crimes," said Anthony D. Williams, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Los Angeles Field Division. "Those willing to compromise public safety at our airports for profit should be on notice that they will inevitably be brought to justice and held accountable."

Richardson worked as a screener until he was terminated by the TSA in February 2011.

The investigation into this case was conducted by the DEA and IRS-Criminal Investigation Division, under the auspices of the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Southern California Drug Task Force.

Substantial assistance was provided by the TSA, the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, the Los Angeles International Airport Narcotics Task Force, and the Los Angeles Airport Police.

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