• Federal officers, local police investigating marijuana trafficking through Sea-Tac Airport

    By: Amy Clancy

    Updated:

    It is legal to have fewer than 40 grams of marijuana in your checked bag or carry-on when you arrive at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

    But there are three separate law enforcement investigations currently being conducted on people suspected of trafficking large, illegal amounts of pot in and out of the airport. Two cases are being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and one case is being investigated by the Port of Seattle Police.

    Port of Seattle Police Deputy Chief Michael Villa told KIRO 7 that the pot "was essentially in bags that people were trying to carry through or had checked, and were trying to fly out of the airport."

    According to investigative documents uncovered by KIRO 7, one suspect's bag was recently "checked in under a juvenile's name."

    That juvenile allegedly admitted to "being paid to ship two other bags for an unknown person."

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    No arrests have yet been made in this case, which Villa said
    is just one example of the growing problem of pot being moved from states where it is legal to states where it is not.

    "We do know that all the transportation modes are being utilized by drug traffickers to move both illegal drugs and money," Villa said.

    "As a police department, we are fully aware of that. So even though safety is our primary mission, we are still interested in doing whatever we can to prevent that flow of narcotics."

    The Port of Seattle Police Department has multiple K-9s that are primarily used to sniff for explosives, but when the department's dogs, or dogs from the Transportation Security Administration, detect pot or other illegal drugs, an investigation is launched.

    Any evidence is seized.

    Investigators told KIRO 7 the word is apparently out that marijuana trafficking at Sea-Tac will be investigated, even though pot is legal in Washington state.

    "We received a tip from an agency that an out-of-state traveler was coming through the airport that they thought would have marijuana on them," Villa said.

    "We detained the individual as they came off their flight and ended up seizing $66,000 in drug money."


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