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Ex-LAX worker gets prison for smuggling

February 24, 2009 1:25:35 PM PST
A former LAX employee has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for smuggling foreign nationals into the United States.Roberto Amaya Canchola, a former elevator mechanic at LAX, was sentenced Monday as part of a plea agreement.

Canchola, 54, admitted to earning $1,800 for each illegal alien he helped bypass customs security, ushered into airport elevators, and escorted to taxis outside.

Canchola was arrested at the airport in August 2008 after agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement caught him using special access security keys to smuggle four aliens through a series of restricted elevators and corridors.

The investigation began in late July 2008 when customs officers discovered a discrepancy in the number of passengers on board a Mexicana flight and those that cleared federal inspection.

LAX surveillance video identified Canchola intercepting the four arriving passengers and guiding them through the federal inspection area.


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