California residents who often travel may be interested to learn that three baggage handlers have been charged after attempting to transport drugs across the country. According to the criminal complaint, 11 others were also charged in the alleged conspiracy.
The U.S. Attorney's Office stated that the baggage handlers, who were working at Oakland International Airport, were not screened. Because they had special access, it was believed that they brought marijuana into the the airport. They would then allegedly place the drugs in the bags of passengers who had been reportedly participating in the scheme since July 2012. The passengers were reportedly using Southwest Airlines flights to take the drugs across the country.
A spokesperson for Oakland International Airport stated that the airport itself alerted officials to the alleged scheme. Additionally, the spokesperson stated that their security program exceeded the requirements put into place by federal officials. The three baggage handlers were reportedly charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, though it was not stated when they would be heading to court.
When a person is accused of drug distribution, they may potentially face incarceration, major fines and a lengthy probation. Additionally, a conviction will go on their permanent record, making it difficult to obtain employment later on. A criminal defense attorney may argue that the client was not involved in any drug possession or distribution conspiracy or that they were unaware that they were involved in the alleged activities. In some cases, the attorney may find inconsistencies in the officials' testimonies or may argue that evidence was mishandled.
Source: CNN, "No full worker screening at airport where bag handlers charged in drug case", Scott Zamost, Drew Griffin and Curt Devine, May 19, 2015