SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – A former security screener at San Francisco International Airport was sentenced to federal prison Wednesday for her role in a cocaine smuggling conspiracy.
U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer sentenced Jessica Scott — who worked for a TSA contractor — to a year and a day in prison in the case that also involved her ex-husband and former TSA supervisory screener Joseph Scott.
Breyer said that Ms. Scott was at the lowest level of the conspiracy. She pleaded guilty to one instance of allowing a carry-on bag with 6 kilos of cocaine to pass though her X-ray machine at SFO.
There were at least two other likely occasions she allowed drugs to pass through, said Breyer, for a total of 17 kilos.
Scott’s attorney, Julia Jayne, had asked for probation or at most home detention, saying this was something she did at her husband’s request, “for a friend”, without any knowledge of the bigger conspiracy. The Judge refused.
“I do not think for a moment your client will commit another crime,” Breyer said, but he wanted her punishment to send a message to other TSA workers.
The judge noted that there are several cases of TSA screeners charged with similar crimes at SFO.
“It’s easy for a TSA screener to say I’m not a drug dealer, I’m not (Bobby) Napier,” Breyer said, referring to the smuggler sentenced to four years last month for arranging payoffs to TSA screeners and coordinating the smugglers’ flights.
“TSA screeners must realize they’re not a drug dealer but they’ve breached their trust and safety position and they have to understand that they’re going to prison if they look the other way when a package goes by,” Breyer went on to say.
Jessica Scott was dabbing her eyes and sniffling as she addressed the Judge, saying she was embarrassed and took responsibility. She must surrender to prison on or before September 8.