Former TSA agent arrested for smuggling meth through LAX
Michael Williams faces up to 20 years in federal prison
By Sam Catanzaro
A former Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent was arrested this week on a federal criminal complaint alleging he smuggled what he believed to be methamphetamine through Los Angeles International Airport in exchange for a total of $8,000 in cash.
Michael Williams, 39, of Hawthorne, has been charged with one count of attempted methamphetamine distribution.
According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, authorities conducted undercover operations in 2020 involving Williams, whom they suspected of helping smuggle narcotics past security checkpoints at LAX. During operations, Williams allegedly encountered a drug source to trade methamphetamine in the days leading up to his shift at LAX.
As a TSA employee with uncontrolled access to LAX, Williams agreed to deliver the methamphetamine in a backpack to the source’s accomplice in the men’s restroom on the secure side of the airport terminal.
“After taking possession of what he believed to be real narcotics, Williams allegedly transported an unscreened package containing the fake methamphetamine beyond the TSA’s screening area and delivered the package to another person. This individual, who Williams did not know was a federal agent, each time exchanged $4,000 in cash in the men’s restroom in the secure area of the airport,” the Justice Department said in a statement. Press release.
According to prosecutors, Williams was observed on LAX security cameras exiting the restroom while wearing his TSA uniform en route to starting his shift screening passengers and baggage.
If convicted, Williams faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in federal prison.