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Corruption

Millage Peaks, Son of Former LAFD Chief, Pleads Guilty in TSA Pot Smuggling Scheme at LAX

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Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 1:08 PM

click to enlarge KATHEIRNE HITT / FLICKR
  • Katheirne Hitt / Flickr
Millage Peaks, the son of former L.A. Fire Department chief of the same name, today pleaded guilty to a charge that he paid a TSA agent to smuggle marijuana through security checkpoints at LAX.

Peaks "initiated the bribery scheme" that has brought guilty pleas to federal charges from five defendants, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in L.A.

Here's what the 24-year-old pleaded to:

"Conspiracy," according to federal officials. Here's what they say went down in late 2010:

Peaks offered to pay coconspirator Perez a bribe fee of approximately $500 for each bag containing marijuana that coconspirator Perez cleared through airport security for the drug couriers.

... Over the course of the next year, conspirator [Diana] Perez used her position with TSA to help the drug couriers circumvent airport security on approximately nine occasions. She did this a number of ways. First, she would instruct the drug couriers how to pack the marijuana so it would not trigger alarms on TSA's explosive detection system. Coconspirator Perez would also personally screen the bags using TSA's explosive detection system. Finally, if a bag did alarm, coconspirator Perez would manually screen the bag, and then clear it.

Gosh this is like a bad frat-boy comedy. Were Method Man and Redman in this? Uh, yeah, I'll personally clear that bag. It actually happened.

Authorities said Peaks' weed was headed for Boston. The other defendants who pleaded guilty today include:

The aforementioned Perez, a 28-year-old from Inglewood who was fired from the TSA in October; and Randy Littlefield, a 29-year-old from Paramount who resigned from the agency that same month.

Charles "Smoke" Hicks, a 24-year-old from Culver City, and Andrew "Drew" Russel Welter, a 25-year-old from Fontana, previously pleaded guilty as part of the pot-smuggling conspiracy, feds say.

Today's pleas were part of a deal with prosecutors. So while the charges could carry 5 years for each defendant, they probably won't actually see anything close to that much time.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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