In a plea deal, Terese White, 41, admitted that she attempted to circumvent airport security with more than three pounds of the narcotic strapped to her belly.
According to court filings, Transportation Security Administration agents noted the lady was trembling on October 4 as she was being checked into one of the machines at San Diego International Airport.
The scanner identified a big mass in the vicinity of her abdomen, and the security personnel, unable to locate the lump, ordered her to a private screening room. After additional examination, the police determined that the vast bubble was an object wrapped around the woman’s midsection. According to court filings, a drug-detection dog was brought in and detected something within the thing.
Terese White, a 41-year-old flight attendant for Mesa Airlines from Dallas, was brought into the jail and informed the authorities that the item they had discovered was “not what you think,” but rather a “mercury pack” that her coworkers had given her for weight reduction, according to a criminal complaint.
According to court records, the item was sampled and analyzed and was determined to contain more than three pounds of fentanyl.
Friday in federal court, Ms. White pled guilty to carrying fentanyl with the intent to distribute. She will be finally sentenced on March 24 in court in the Southern District of California and will have to face up to 20 years in prison. It was unclear if her plea deal would result in a significant sentence reduction.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, in a statement, said on Friday that Ms. White acknowledged attempting to utilize her flight attendant credentials to circumvent the more rigorous security screening procedure to smuggle the fentanyl that was taped to her belly.
Tuesday, Ms. White’s attorney did not reply to demands for comment. Tuesday, Mesa Airlines also still needs to respond to questions.
Agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration Shelly Howe said, “Drug traffickers use the air, land, and sea for personal gain, endangering the lives of innocent people.”
Ms. White stated in her plea bargain that she traveled from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas to San Diego while off-duty. According to authorities, she momentarily left the airport’s secure area after arriving at San Diego International Airport and returned later that day for a trip to Boston.
Ms. White attempted to circumvent the standard passenger security check using the “known crew member line.” According to court filings, TSA officials randomly picked Ms. White to go through regular screening rather than the known member line, which led to the discovery that she was attempting to smuggle narcotics.
White stated as part of her guilty plea that she sought to use her position as a flight attendant, a position of trust and honor, to assist the violation, according to a statement released by the U.S. attorney’s office on Friday.
It was unclear to whom or where Ms. White planned to administer the fentanyl. According to court filings, she attempted to travel with 3.33 kilos (1.51 pounds) of the narcotic.
The substance is 100 times more potent than morphine, and according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, one kilogram can kill 500,000 people. Fentanyl has been connected to the deaths of over 70,000 Americans in 2021, and the FDA has collected over 379 million doses this year.