SFO security screeners indicted on drug, conspiracy charges

Three workers at San Francisco International Airport are facing serious drug charges after a federal indictment earlier this week.

The 15-page indictment filed on Tuesday states Joseph Scott, Jessica Scott and Michael Castaneda are each facing two criminal counts: conspiracy to defraud the government and conspiracy to distribute and possess five kilograms or more of cocaine.

"I think it's terrible, we entrust a lot into these people and to let us down like that is awful," said Jason Hick of Pleasant Hill.

The three accused are Transportation Safety Administration subcontractors working for Covenant Aviation Security at SFO. According to the documents, for nearly a year -- from May 2013 until April 2014 -- the three workers allowed drugs to pass through their secure area on several occasions.

Their duties included operating the x-ray machines that are used to inspect carry-on bags and monitoring the security lines. The indictment states a federal sting was arranged to catch the accused.

Two government officials acted as drug smugglers who had what appeared to be cocaine or simulated narcotics in their carry-on luggage.

Court documents state one of the defendants would set up a time and place to meet the smugglers at the airport, that way when it was time to go through security. The smugglers would be directed to the lines where the others were working the x-ray machines and monitoring passengers.

This allowed the bags to make it through without question even though the defendants would know there were possible drugs in the bags.

The documents go on to explain that none of the defendants failed to notify law enforcement or ask for a secondary screening. If convicted the three are facing possible life sentences and fines upwards of $10,000,000.