Former TSA agent at LAX charged with federal count of attempting to distribute methamphetamine

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A former TSA officer at Los Angeles International Airport was arrested and charged in federal court Wednesday for drug smuggling.

The arrest comes after investigators conducted undercover operations back in 2020.

Michael Williams, 39, of Hawthorne is charged with a federal count of attempting to distribute methamphetamine.

Federal prosecutors say he smuggled what he believed were real drugs and handed them to an undercover agent in an LAX bathroom stall in exchange for $8,000 dollars.

If convicted, Williams could face up to 20 years in federal prison.

According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, authorities in 2020 conducted undercover operations involving Williams, whom they suspected of helping smuggle narcotics past security checkpoints at LAX.

During the investigation, Williams allegedly met with a drug source to exchange methamphetamine in the days prior leading up to his shift at LAX, the document says.

As a TSA employee with unscreened access to LAX, Williams agreed to deliver what he thought was methamphetamine in a backpack to the drug source's accomplice in the men's restroom on the secure side of the airport terminal, federal prosecutors allege.

After taking possession of what he believed was real narcotics, Williams allegedly transported an unscreened package containing the fake methamphetamine beyond the TSA screening area and delivered the package. The person who accepted the package, whom Williams did not know was a federal agent, on both occasions exchanged $4,000 in cash in the restroom stalls, prosecutors allege.

Williams was observed on LAX's security cameras exiting the restroom while wearing his TSA uniform en route to begin his shift screening passengers and luggage, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

City News Service contributed to this report

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