– Female TSA Agent Repeatedly Helped Drug Dealer Sneak Through Security (Daily Mail, August 29, 2011):
A former TSA agent has admitted helping a man accused of running a drug ring repeatedly evade security and smuggle money through the Buffalo Niagara Airport.
Minetta Walker, 43, confessed that she helped the man get around airport security scanners and had warned two of his associates that agents were tailing them.
The behavioural detection officer for the Transportation Safety Administration was caught directing travellers she appeared to know away from security checks.
She would steer them away from security lines where body image scanners or pat-downs might detect large sums of cash and escort them to their gates to they would not be pulled aside for random inspections, it was claimed.
Walker was arrested in March. On Friday, in federal court she admitted helping Derek Frank, who is also charged and accused of running a drug operation, of avoiding security checks.
According to police, Frank, 30, regularly flew from Buffalo to Arizona to buy marijuana, which was mailed back to Buffalo and sold.
He has pleaded not guilty in federal court.
As a behavioural detection officer, Walker was trained to observe and analyse human behaviour and had unrestricted access to the airport and its security stations.
Investigators stumbled upon her behaviour while monitoring the movements and cell phone calls of suspected drug dealers beginning about a year ago, according to court documents.
Chief George Gast of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority police confirmed his agency assisted federal investigators in a long-term investigation.
Walker was charged with conspiring to defraud the United States and evading security requirements. She faces up to five years in prison.
The charge against Frank carries a possible prison term of 20 years to life.
In a related case Thursday, a former employee of the Buffalo city clerk’s office pleaded guilty to a felony, admitting that she made up a false birth certificate for Frank.