A Transportation Security Administration screener is arrested at Los Angeles International Airport in an alleged drug trafficking scheme in this picture provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office April 25, 2012
Eleby, however, bungled the plan by going to the wrong terminal and was arrested after another TSA screener found the cocaine, which set in motion a series of undercover operations that led to Wednesday's announcement that two former and current TSA employees had been indicted on federal drug trafficking and bribery charges.
A 22-count indictment outlined five incidents where the TSA employees took payments of up to $2,400 to provide drug couriers unfettered access at LAX over a six-month period last year. In all, seven people are facing charges, including Eleby.
"The allegations in this case describe a significant breakdown of the screening system through the conduct of individuals who placed greed above the nation's security needs," said U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr.
In one case, after nearly 8 pounds of meth went through an X-ray machine, Whitfield and an operative met in an airport bathroom where Whitfield was paid $600 for his efforts, court documents show.
If convicted, all four employees face a minimum of 10 years in federal prison. Whitfield, who has worked at TSA since 2008, and McKinney, a seven-year veteran, are under suspension, authorities said.