Former TSA Transportation Security Officer Sentenced To 21 Months In Prison For Circumventing Security Checkpoint Screening
Defendant Corruptly Abused Her Position at Oakland International Airport And Conspired to Distribute Drugs Nationwide for Smuggling Ring
OAKLAND – Kiana Scott Clark, 29, of Oakland, Calif., was sentenced today to 21 months in prison for conspiring to defraud the United States by obstructing, impeding, and interfering with the aviation security functions of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and for conspiring to distribute controlled substances, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett, and TSA Office of Inspection, Investigations Division Acting Special Agent in Charge Connie M. Youngers. The sentence follows a plea agreement entered June 17, 2016.
According to the plea agreement, Clark admitted she abused her official, public, and sensitive position as a TSA Transportation Security Officer between 2013 and 2015 to enable drug smugglers, with whom she conspired, to circumvent the required TSA screening of carry-on baggage. Clark acknowledged that on April 16, 2015, she was a TSA officer at the Oakland International Airport and had informed her co-conspirators of the security lane where she was positioned and the time when she was the TSA officer responsible for the x-ray screening of carry-on baggage at the TSA security checkpoint. Instead of performing or requesting additional screening as her TSA duties required, Clark allowed her co-conspirator and the carry-on baggage to clear the TSA security checkpoint. Clark’s co-conspirator entered the secure area of the airport and boarded a commercial aircraft. Clark admitted that her conduct on April 16, 2015, facilitated the smuggling of approximately 10.9 kilograms of marijuana. Clark further admitted that she had engaged in such corrupt and criminal conduct on multiple prior occasions and had conspired in such conduct between 2013 and 2015.
“Congress created the TSA two months after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, to ensure the security of aircraft and airports throughout the United States,” said U.S Attorney Stretch. “As federal employees charged and entrusted with carrying out this mission, TSA Transportation Security Officers take an oath to faithfully discharge their duties. In this case, through her deception and dishonesty, Clark corruptly and repeatedly violated this oath. Clark betrayed not only the public trust and the TSA, but also her fellow TSA officers who strive to perform their duties consistently, conscientiously, and faithfully to ensure aviation security. This office will vigorously prosecute people who violate the law and put the public at risk.”
Clark was indicted by a federal grand jury on December 15, 2015, and charged with two counts of conspiring to defraud the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, and two counts of conspiring to distribute a controlled substance, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841. Pursuant to her plea agreement, Clark pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to defraud the United States and one count of conspiring to distribute a controlled substance.
The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Jon S. Tigar, U.S. District Judge. In addition to the prison term, Judge Tigar also sentenced the defendant to a three-year period of supervised release. The defendant will begin serving her sentence on April 7, 2017.
This case is being prosecuted by the Special Prosecutions and National Security Unit at the United States Attorney’s Office, and is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, TSA Office of Inspection, Investigations Division, City of Tracy Police Department, and San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.