A trio of baggage handlers at Oakland Airport have been charged with conspiracy to distribute, and possession with intent to distribute, 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. As the AP reports, the three men have been ID'd as Kenneth Wayne Fleming of San Leandro, and Keith Ramon Mayfield and Michael Herb Videau of Oakland. They are three of 14 individuals involved in what appears to be a multi-city pot-trafficking ring that dates back to at least 2012.
Per KRON 4, the scheme worked like this: Fleming, Mayfield, and Videau used their badges to carry checked bags full of marijuana past screening areas and into the hands of passenger accomplices, who would then carry the bags onto planes as carry-ons.
It's unclear how many other cities, or airports, may have been involved, or which direction the drugs were primarily moving.
Southwest Airlines, which has a hub at Oakland Airport and which appears to have been the employer of the three men, issued a statement, saying, "Southwest Airlines does not tolerate any behavior or activity that could jeopardize the safety and security of our operation. We are fully cooperating with authorities and will continue to work with law enforcement, airport authorities, and our security partners to perform due diligence in upholding high security standards."
This case follows on arrests that happened just two months back in connection with an FBI investigation at SFO involving TSA agents who are now accused of smuggling meth through security checkpoints at that airport.