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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 30, 2017

Oakland Man Sentenced To Almost Twenty Years In Prison For Role In Conspiracy To Smuggle Drugs Around Airport Security

Defendant supervised operation to smuggle methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana around security checkpoints in violation of security requirements.

OAKLAND – Jeremy Luckett was sentenced today to 235 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with the intent to distribute, methamphetamine, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch; Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Michael T. Batdorf; and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge John J. Martin.  The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr., U.S. District Judge, following a guilty plea in which Luckett admitted participating in an operation to smuggle methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana through the Oakland International Airport in violation of security requirements.

Luckett, 38, of Oakland, pleaded guilty on May 8, 2017, to one count of conspiring to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, fifty grams and more of actual methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(b)(1)(A)(viii).  According to the plea agreement and the government’s sentencing memorandum, from at least January 2011, to April 28, 2014, Luckett was part of a conspiracy to smuggle narcotics through the Oakland airport by violating airport security measures to transport methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana to Hawaii.  In order to carry out his scheme, the defendant conspired with a Southwest Airlines employee to smuggle the narcotics into the Oakland Airport around the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint where the drugs were eventually provided to couriers who transported the narcotics on outbound commercial flights from Oakland to Hawaii.  Luckett recruited some of the couriers and typically paid them cash before and after their smuggling runs.  Luckett also purchased or directed a co-conspirator to purchase the plane tickets and hotel accommodations used to carry out the conspiracy.  The drug smuggling operation came to an end on April 28, 2014, when one of the couriers became intoxicated and was denied entry to her flight to Hawaii.  The courier was subsequently arrested and the narcotics provided to her for transport were seized.  The narcotics intended for distribution in Hawaii included packages that contained 1,741.7 grams of mixtures and substances containing 1,690.2 grams of actual (pure) methamphetamine as well as 998.6 grams of cocaine.

On August 11, 2016, Luckett was charged by a federal grand jury in a superseding indictment.  Luckett was charged with one count of conspiracy to enter an airport area in violation of security requirements and to defraud the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; 33 counts of entering an airport area in violation of security requirements, in violation of 49 U.S.C. §§ 46314(a) and 46314(b)(2); one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, methamphetamine and cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846; one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); and one count of money laundering with intent to promote drug trafficking, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(A)(i).   Pursuant to his guilty plea, Luckett pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.  The remaining counts were dismissed.  

In addition to the prison term, Judge Gilliam also sentenced the defendant to a five-year period of supervised release.  The defendant, who is in custody, will begin serving the sentence immediately.

Luckett’s co-defendants, Damian Lewis, Christopher Cross, Anthony Turner, Ja’Del McField, Brianna Holloway, Laura Turner, and Katrice Day, pleaded guilty to their respective roles in the scheme.  Of these co-defendants, all except for Katrice Day await sentencing.  Judge Gilliam sentenced Katrice Day on July 31, 2017, to three years of probation.     

Assistant U.S. Attorney Garth Hire is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Kathleen Turner and Vanessa Quant.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the IRS-CI, the DEA, the FBI, and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.  This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Anyone wishing to report suspected public corruption is encouraged to contact the FBI public corruption hotline at 415-553-7400 ext. 5 or at PublicCorruption.SF@fbi.gov.
 

Updated October 31, 2017