A former Transportation Security Administration officer was indicted on Friday for allegedly accepting bribes to allow checked bags filled with marijuana to pass through security checkpoints at Los Angeles International Airport, prosecutors said.
Deondre Smith, 33, of South Los Angeles, was charged with counts of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and bribery of a public official, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Smith allegedly accepted at least $500 to make sure checked baggage filled with marijuana pass through screening checkpoints at the airport, according to the indictment. The bags containing marijuana were flown to Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina and were distributed.
The indictment alleges at least nine incidents in 2009 and 2010 where Smith allowed marijuana to pass through security.
“Knowing that the luggage contained marijuana, Smith would temporarily take possession of the luggage from the other co-conspirators and either personally escort the luggage through LAX baggage screen checkpoints, or deliver the luggage to make sure the baggage containing marijuana passed through security,” the indictment said.
The co-conspirators in the case were convicted of federal drug charges in North Carolina.
“I expect all federal employees to meet the high standards of ethical behavior, said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Any acceptance of bribes to influence official conduct will not be tolerated. It is particularly serious when the employee knowingly assisted in the commission of a serious criminal offense.”
Smith is facing a maximum 5-year sentence for drug trafficking conspiracy and a maximum 15-year sentence for the bribery count.