Michael Williams faces up to 20 years in federal prison
By Sam Catanzaro
A former Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer was arrested this week on a federal criminal complaint alleging he smuggled what he believed was methamphetamine through Los Angeles International Airport in exchange for a total of $8,000 in cash.
Michael Williams, 39, of Hawthorne, has been charged with one count of attempting to distribute methamphetamine.
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 operations, Williams allegedly met with a drug source to exchange methamphetamine in the days prior leading up to his shift at LAX.
As a TSA employee with unscreened access to LAX, Williams agreed to deliver the meth in a backpack to the source’s accomplice in the men’s restroom on the secure side of the airport terminal.
“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 to another individual. This individual, whom Williams did not know was a federal agent, on both occasions exchanged $4,000 in cash in the stalls of the men’s restroom in the airport’s secure area,” the Department of Justice said in a press release.
According to prosecutors, 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.
If convicted, Williams would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.