CA: Flight attendant accused of trying to board San Diego plane strapped with fentanyl

Terese White was arrested trying to pass security at San Diego International Airport and charged with possessing fentanyl with intent to distribute

An off-duty flight attendant tried to smuggle more than 3 pounds of fentanyl onto a plane last month in San Diego, but authorities discovered the drugs strapped to her body when she went through airport security, according to prosecutors.

Terese Lea White faces a federal charge of possession with intent to distribute the fentanyl, according to court documents. She has been released on bail and fired from the airline company she worked for, according to a company spokesperson.

Her attorney did not respond Friday to requests for comment.

Authorities arrested White on Oct. 4 at the San Diego International Airport, where she was trying to board a plane while off duty by going through a “known crew member” line that allows pilots and flight attendants to bypass normal security screening, according to a criminal complaint. But she was randomly selected to go through a normal security screening with the general public as part of a Transportation Security Administration procedure known as “unpredictable screening.”

In the general security line, White set off the metal detector and was sent to a body scanner, where TSA officers noticed an anomaly near her abdomen, according to the complaint. Inside a private screening room, she removed an item strapped to her body.

The item turned out to be a 3.3-pound package of fentanyl, according to the complaint. While in custody at the airport, White allegedly told law enforcement the item was “not what you think,” claiming that it was a weight loss device provided by a co-worker.

White worked for a company that provides major airlines with pilots and flight attendants. A spokesperson said White is no longer employed with the company.

The allegation against White comes about eight years after authorities broke up a drug distribution ring at the San Diego airport that used baggage handlers to smuggle large quantities of narcotics onto commercial flights.

In that scheme, which resulted in prison sentences for 10 people, the airport workers took advantage of their security badges to bring cocaine and methamphetamine into the airport, then pass the drugs through bathroom stalls to couriers, who were flying to other cities as ticketed passengers and had already passed through TSA screenings.

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