Rasondo Maurice Norris, an employee of AirTran Airlines, who attempted to smuggle cocaine and a Mac-11 machine gun onto a commercial flight, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, the United States Attorney’s Office reported.
Norris, a 30 year old who hails from Stone Mountain, worked as a baggage handler for AirTran at the Hartsfield Jackson International Airport and according to the Attorney, in May 2013, HSI Special Agents learned that, for a fee, Norris would help people bring contraband, including guns and drugs, onto airplanes by using his security clearance to bypass TSA security.
“Security screening at our airports is vital to keeping citizens safe,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “By using his credentials to bypass security with backpacks of contraband, the defendant tried to allow drugs and a machine gun onboard a commercial flight. Public safety is a responsibility we take seriously, and our office will continue to prosecute those who are endangering our citizens.”
The complaint goes on to say that on or about May 23, 2013, an HSI Special Agent, acting in an undercover capacity, gave the defendant a backpack containing what was represented to be five kilograms of cocaine. Norris took the backpack from the undercover agent, bypassed security, and returned the backpack back to the agent once the agent cleared security. In a similar manner, on May 30, 2013, Norris again bypassed security with a backpack, this time containing what was represented to be $500,000 in drug proceeds. Finally, on June 5, 2013, Norris once more bypassed security with a backpack carrying what was represented to be three kilograms of cocaine, and a Mac-11 automatic firearm (which had been previously rendered inert by law enforcement agents), a magazine and a silencer.
Norris was paid somewhere between $600 and $800 each time he bypassed security.
“The defendant abused his position to enrich himself without any regard for the harm that could have resulted from his actions,” said Brock D. Nicholson, special agent in charge of HSI Atlanta. “HSI special agents will continue to work closely with our partners at Hartsfield-Jackson to ensure the safety of the traveling public.”
Norris admitted in court that he violated the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport’s security measures by bringing the Mac-11 machine gun, silencer, and magazine past the TSA security checkpoints and that he attempted to possess five kilograms of cocaine in the airport.
Norris was sentenced by United States District Judge Steven C. Jones to 10 years in prison. Norris was convicted on October 10, 2013, after he pleaded guilty.