A 28-year-old woman arrested Tuesday at Los Angeles International Airport has been charged with trying to smuggle at least a kilogram of cocaine to her hometown of Detroit.
Kennsha Mason, 28, was arrested by DEA agents after boarding a Spirit Airlines flight, according to officials.
A criminal complaint filed this morning alleges the narcotics were discovered in Mason’s luggage after she checked in for a flight bound for Baltimore, which was a layover on a trip to Detroit.
After seeing something suspicious in one of the bags during an image scan, the Transportation Security Administration inspected the bag, and discovered three individually wrapped items that were vacuum sealed and wrapped with a layer of carbon paper, according to officials.
Los Angeles Airport Police responded to the scene, located Mason on her Spirit Airlines flight, and escorted her off the airplane.
During a subsequent interview, Mason admitted to DEA special agents that she had previously transported drugs from Los Angeles to Detroit on four or five occasions,and that she was paid $3,500 each time she transported narcotics to Detroit.
During the interview recounted in the affidavit, Mason stated that she was working for an individual in Detroit who purchased Mason’s airline tickets and directed Mason to a residence in Pasadena, where she obtained the drugs to be delivered to Detroit.
“Our nation’s air travel system is designed to carry people to see loved ones and conduct business – not as a means to smuggle narcotics or other contraband,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “We actively work to interdict drug shipments as part of our mission to protect our critical infrastructure. Those who threaten that infrastructure will be subject to vigorous prosecution.”
Mason is being charged with possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
“The trend of criminal organizations utilizing the Los Angeles International Airport to distribute narcotics nationwide is on the rise,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Steve Comer. “Every time an illegal substance is smuggled onto a commercial airliner, it presents an unacceptable compromise to passenger safety. We’ll continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to mitigate these threats and bring the violators to justice.”
Mason is charged in relation to only one of the three packages recovered from her luggage.
Authorities are in the process of testing the other two packages to confirm the presence of cocaine. The total gross weight of all three packages was approximately four kilograms, which is more than eight pounds, according to authorities.
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