United States

Oakland Man Gets 20-Year Sentence For Conspiring With Southwest Airlines Employee to Smuggle Drugs Into Hawaii

An Oakland man was sentenced Monday to nearly 20 years in prison for conspiring with a Southwest Airlines employee to smuggle drugs past airport officials and onto flights to Hawaii.

Jeremy Luckett, 38, pleaded guilty to avoiding Transportation Security Administration officers, while in possession of methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana at the Oakland International Airport, according to a statement on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The crimes occurred between January 11 and April 2014 and Luckett pleaded guilty on May 8, 2017.

The defendant, who is currently in custody, was slapped with a 235-month prison sentence followed by five years of supervised release. He will begin the sentence immediately, officials said.

Luckett partnered with a Southwest Airlines employee in his effort to violate airport security measures and get the drugs past the TSA checkpoint, the statement said. Once inside the airport, the illegal substances were passed on to couriers who boarded commercial flights to Hawaii.

The convict or a co-conspirator bought the couriers’ plane tickets and hotel accommodations, the statement noted.

The drug smuggling ring came to a grinding halt on April 28, 2014 when one of Luckett’s couriers became intoxicated and was not allowed to board her flight. She was arrested and the narcotics in her luggage were seized, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. The woman was found in possession of 1,690 grams of methamphetamine and nearly 999 grams of cocaine.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Luckett has been charged with a lengthy list of crimes, including one count of conspiracy to enter an airport area in violation of security requirements and to defraud the United States; 33 counts of entering an airport area in violation of security requirements; one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, methamphetamine and cocaine; one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine; and one count of money laundering with intent to promote drug trafficking.

Luckett’s co-defendants, Damian Lewis, Christopher Cross, Anthony Turner, Ja’Del McField, Brianna Holloway and Laura Turner, have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Another defendant, Katrice Day, pleaded guilty and was sentenced on July 31, 2017 to three years of probation, the statement said.

Officials from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and Alameda County Sheriff’s Office worked together on this case.

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