Every Friday, FlyerTalk looks back at the week’s most charming individuals. While there are always plenty of contenders for our Worst Passenger of the Week award, only one lucky flyer can take home the glory. Here are this week’s winners.
Police in Alaska say a passenger’s attempt to transport $50,000 worth of methamphetamine through Ketchikan International Airport (KTN) was foiled this week by a police dog named Misty. The 50-year-old suspect reportedly attempted to discard his large stash of drugs after the Alaska State Police K-9 alerted security personnel to the contraband, but by then, it was already too late.
The bust, which appears to have taken place shortly after the accused meth smuggler arrived at the airport on an inbound flight, involved at least two police agencies. It isn’t clear if the multi-agency task force had advance notice of the incoming drug delivery.
“At around 5:00 p.m. on Friday, troopers with the Alaska State Troopers (AST) statewide drug enforcement unit in Ketchikan, with the assistance of K-9 Misty, made contact with Stanley Lynch, 50, at the airport,” the law enforcement agency announced in a statement. “An investigation found that Lynch, who’s from Hollis, was in possession of approximately 159 gross grams of methamphetamine … The street value of the methamphetamine in Ketchikan is approximately $50,000.”
Both the drugs and the alleged drug mule are now in police custody. Lynch is facing charges including “misconduct involving a controlled substance in the second degree” and “tampering with physical evidence.”
Police in Oregon say an armed man’s attempt to push his way past a Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport (MFR) security checkpoint was foiled this week when TSA screeners sensibly called for backup. When police officers arrived, the would-be air traveler with no boarding pass was reportedly carrying a visible weapon along with a bag containing a knife and several other firearms.
Officials say that Anthony Anderson not only tried to push his way past the security screeners with a holstered weapon in full view, but he also assaulted police who arrived on the scene soon after. The security screening area was briefly closed while officers struggled to subdue the 33-year-old.
“Upon our arrival, officers learned that the unknown suspect was still at the TSA checkpoint to enter the secure area armed with a handgun in a shoulder holster and requesting to board an airplane,” Medford Police Department (MPD) said in a statement regarding the tense incident. “He would not produce identification or a boarding pass. One of the officers, trained in hostage negotiations attempted to speak to the suspect without success. Ultimately, the suspect was asked to leave and he refused. Officers attempted to take the suspect into custody for trespassing, and the suspect resisted.”
The incident eventually ended when the armed subject was safely taken into custody. Anderson now faces a slew of criminal charges including, “unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm, resisting arrest” and “criminal trespass in the second degree.”
Police in Australia say a massive international drug smuggling syndicate was foiled this week when a Malindo Air flight attendant was busted at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL) for her part in an operation which may have been responsible for the importation of nearly $20 million in illicit drugs into the country in less than six months. Authorities say it was the operation’s size and success that ultimately led to its ultimate undoing.
Officials at Lion Air subsidiary Malindo Air confirmed that one of their own was at the center of the organized drug-running scheme. The Malaysia-based carrier said no other employees have been implicated in the criminal enterprise.
“Operation Sunrise commenced in August 2018, focusing on the importation and subsequent trafficking of high grade heroin to Melbourne,” Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a release announcing the takedowns. “Investigators will allege the syndicate was bringing the drugs into the country from Malaysia by using an international airline cabin crew as a courier. The alleged offenders are linked to the trafficking of at least 6kgs of high-grade heroin and 8kgs of methamphetamine during the five-month operation.”
The airline says that the disgraced cabin crew member has “been suspended with immediate effect pending termination.” According to the AFP, she also faces at least one count of “importing a marketable quantity of border controlled drugs.”
Police in Tennessee say an attempt to smuggle nearly 160 pounds of marijuana through Nashville International Airport (BNA) was foiled this week when the strong smell of air freshener used to mask the odor of weed, instead made investigators suspicious. In this case, a police dog named Boston gets much of the credit for the resulting arrests.
Even if the very good boy K-9 officer had been fooled by the copious amount of air freshener used to disguise the illicit contents of the luggage, it’s likely the shipment would have been tagged as suspicious by Boston’s colleagues anyway. Authorities report “clear food saver style vacuum sealed bags sticking out of the zippers” of the suspects’ baggage.
“Here’s 159 lbs. of marijuana that was packed into 4 suitcases” Metro Nashville police said in a Twitter post displaying the seized drugs. “MNPD dog Boston helped find it at BNA after it flew here from OAK Tue. night. The owners of the suitcases, Trung Tieu, 40, of Philadelphia, & Tihn Tran, 56, of Murphy, TX, are jailed; didn’t make their JAX connection.”
Officials say the alleged smugglers were especially easy to track down as the large suitcases full of pot had luggage tags attached clearly identifying the suspects. The pair ended up having a much longer layover in “Home of the Blues” than originally anticipated – Tieu and his alleged partner are now facing state and federal felony drug charges.