Two crew members from United Airlines have been charged by the United States Department of Justice for stealing marijuana from passengers’ luggage at San Francisco International Airport.
The accused individuals, Joel Lamont Dunn and Adrian Webb, were not only responsible for the theft themselves but also facilitated other staff members at the San Francisco airport in stealing marijuana.
The illicit operation, which had been going on for years, was brought to the attention of authorities by an anonymous informant. According to the indictment, workers involved in taking marijuana from passenger bags were paid up to $2,000 per shift, with some earning as much as $10,000 in a week. The stolen cannabis was discreetly placed in large trash bags and transported using the employees’ personal vehicles.
Caught green handed
Airport security cameras captured Dunn and Webb’s illicit side business in June 2021, after they were seen carrying large black garbage bags. Their actions were eventually intercepted by law enforcement in October of the same year and the investigation revealed a well-organized operation that had been ongoing, undetected, for a significant period.
A high number of similar cases
Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident, and in March, Vietnam Airlines flight attendants were arrested in Ho Chi Minh City upon returning from a flight that took off in Paris. During a routine security check, customs officials discovered drugs concealed within the bags of four flight attendants.
Surprisingly, the illicit substances were buried within 112 tubes of toothpaste and other items, weighing a total of 18.5 kg. The flight attendants confessed to receiving $424 for transporting the drugs, which were identified as methamphetamine (crystal meth), ketamine, and cocaine. While authorities had hoped to catch the intended recipient of the drugs, they did not manage to do so.
Adding to the list of troubling incidents, two flight attendants from Delta Airlines were arrested at Miami International Airport in November for smuggling hard drugs. Marcelo Chavez and Ronaldo Maldonado had returned from Brazil when they were apprehended.
While the investigation into this case is still underway, both individuals have been suspended from their jobs. Both Chavez and Maldonado claim to have consumed drugs during their stay in Brazil but deny any knowledge of how the drugs found their way into their bags.
The recent charges against United Airlines crew members for stealing marijuana from passengers’ luggage have exposed a deeply concerning trend within the airline industry.
These incidents highlight the need for enhanced security measures and stricter protocols to prevent such criminal activities. It is imperative that airlines and authorities collaborate to ensure the safety and integrity of passengers’ belongings.