Minnetta Walker, Buffalo, New York (helped drug dealer bypass security & smuggle cash) [BUF]

Discussion in 'Rotten Fruit on the Tree of Government' started by Chester the Molester, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. walker minnetta.jpg

    Name: Minnetta Walker, Buffalo, New York

    Age: 43

    TSA Job: Behavioral Detection Officer

    Crime: Helped drug dealer avoid security to smuggle large amounts of cash

    Federal Bureau of Investigation Press Release (1 Mar 2011):

    TSA Employee Charged with Conspiring to Defraud the United States by Obstructing Security Measures at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport


    Second Person Charged with Operating a Continuing Criminal Enterprise in Violation of Federal Narcotics Laws


    U.S. Attorney’s Office​

    Western District of New York

    March 01, 2011​

    (716) 843-5700​


    BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Minnetta Walker, 43, of Buffalo, N.Y., was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with conspiring to defraud the United States by interfering with and obstructing the security measures, procedures and requirements of the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, and with aiding and abetting another individual in entering an aircraft and airport area in violation of federal security requirements. The conspiracy charge carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both; while the violation of federal security requirements carries a penalty of up to one year in prison, a fine of $100,000, or both.​

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten, who is handling the case, stated that according to the affidavit in support of the complaint, the defendant worked at the Buffalo Airport as a behavioral detection officer with TSA, a division of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The affidavit states that in this capacity, the defendant facilitated the breach of security measures by several airline passengers by, among other things, permitting one person to travel under a false name, and by assisting persons to bypass normal security measures by escorting passengers through the Buffalo airport security and directing travelers away from the body image scanner/patdown security line, which can detect items carried on the person. The affidavit further stated that on occasion, the defendant waited with certain persons at the aircraft departure gate, preventing those travelers from being subjected to random secondary screening. On yet another occasion, the affidavit stated that Walker may have alerted an individual traveling through the Buffalo airport to surveillance being conducted by federal law enforcement officers.​

    One of the airline travelers identified during the course of this investigation is Derek Frank, 30, of Amherst, N.Y. Frank was also arrested today and charged by criminal complaint with engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, possession with intent to distribute, and the distribution of 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and conspiracy. If convicted, defendant Frank faces a mandatory term of 20 years in prison, a fine of $2,000,000, or both.​

    United States Attorney William Hochul stated, “This office, working with our law enforcement partners, will vigorously pursue any efforts to breach or evade the security of our region’s airports. We will also continue to hold all public servants to the highest standards of their profession.”​

    “Today represents the efforts of federal and local law enforcement working together,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge James H. Robertson. “The TSA has been working with the FBI, DEA, and our other law enforcement partners from the start of this investigation. I want to assure the traveling public that this was a drug investigation. At no time was the traveling public at risk.”​
    DEA Special Agent in Charge John P. Gilbride stated, “Federal, state, and local law enforcement worked collaboratively to identify and arrest two individuals—one with a badge and one without—who were abusing our transportation security in order to transport bulk quantities of alleged narco dollars out of the Buffalo area. In this day and age there is no explanation for someone who is responsible for protecting transportation routes to turn a blind eye on security for profit.”​

    The arrest is the culmination of an investigation on the part of special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James H. Robertson, special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Lev Kubiak, special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Dale Kasprzyk; the Transportation Security Administration, under the direction of Derek DiPietro; and officers of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, under the direction of Chief George Gast.​

    The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.​

    WIVB (1 Mar 2011): FBI says TSA employee helped get drugs by security

    Your News Now / Buffalo (1 Mar 2011): TSA worker accused of helping to smuggle drugs

    WKBW (1 Mar 2011): TSA Agent Arrested

    Huffington Post (1 March 2011): Minneta Walker, Buffalo TSA Agent, Arrested For Allowing Drug Trafficker Through Security

    Tags:
    Minnetta Walker, Buffalo, New York, BUF, drugs, marijuana, cash, smuggling, narcotics, BDO, behavioral detection officer
  2. WIVB (2 Mar 2011): TSA worker in drug scandal in court

    WBFO (2 Mar 2011): TSA employee from Buffalo Airport charged

    USA Today (2 Mar 2011): TSA worker charged with helping drug traffickers at Buffalo airport

    Buffalo News (2 Mar 2011): TSA officer accused of aiding drug suspects

    The Buffalo News article is the most comprehensive coverage of the story at this point.

    UK Daily Mail (2 Mar 2011): TSA worker 'helped drug dealers evade security checks' at Buffalo Airport

    WKBW (2 Mar 2011): TSA Agent Denies Helping Smuggle Drug Money

  3. Gothamist (3 Mar 2011): TSA Agent Busted For Letting Drug Dealer Skip Security

    Reuters (4 Mar 2011): TSA agent accused in drug operation at Buffalo Airport

    WIVB (9 Mar 2011): Accused TSA employee has checkered past

    WIVB (10 Mar 2011): TSA employee's past raises questions: Walker was arrested in 1998

  4. Federal Bureau of Investigation Press Release (29 Apr 2011):

    TSA Employee Indicted for Conspiring to Defraud the United States by Obstructing Security Measures at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport

    U.S. Attorney’s Office​
    Western District of New York
    March 01, 2011​
    (716) 843-5700​

    BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Minnetta Walker, 43, of Buffalo, N.Y., with conspiring to defraud the United States by interfering with and obstructing the security measures, procedures, and requirements of the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, and with aiding and abetting another individual in entering an aircraft and airport area in violation of federal security requirements. The conspiracy charge carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both, while the violation of federal security requirements carries a penalty of up to one year in prison, a fine of $100,000, or both.​

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant worked at the Buffalo Airport as a behavioral detection officer with TSA, a division of the United States Department of Homeland Security. Walker was specially trained to observe and analyze human behavior to detect individuals exhibiting behaviors that indicated they may be a threat to aviation security.​

    According to the indictment, the defendant assisted individuals in bypassing the normal security procedures, including the functions performed by a TSA screener or travel document checker to examine persons, property, and other articles entering aircraft and the secure airport area. The indictment further alleges that Walker facilitated the breach of security measures by several airline passengers by, among other things, leading persons through security and bypassing the travel document checker without stopping, preventing scrutiny of that person’s travel and permitting the person to travel under a false name using false identification and travel documents in that name. The defendant also assisted persons in bypassing normal security measures by escorting them through security and directing travelers away from the body image scanner/patdown security line, which can detect items, such as large sums of currency, carried on the person. The indictment further states that on occasion, Walker waited with certain persons at the aircraft departure gate, preventing those travelers from being subjected to random secondary screening. The defendant is also charged with detecting the presence of law enforcement activity and alerting individuals in an effort to interfere with that law enforcement activity.​

    The indictment stems from an investigation on the part of special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Richard W. Kollmar; special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Lev J. Kubiak; special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Resident Agent in Charge Dale Kasprzyk; the Transportation Security Administration, under the direction of Derek DiPietro; and officers of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, under the direction of Chief George Gast.​

    The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.​

    BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Minnetta Walker, 43, of Buffalo, N.Y., with conspiring to defraud the United States by interfering with and obstructing the security measures, procedures, and requirements of the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, and with aiding and abetting another individual in entering an aircraft and airport area in violation of federal security requirements. The conspiracy charge carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both, while the violation of federal security requirements carries a penalty of up to one year in prison, a fine of $100,000, or both.​

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant worked at the Buffalo Airport as a behavioral detection officer with TSA, a division of the United States Department of Homeland Security. Walker was specially trained to observe and analyze human behavior to detect individuals exhibiting behaviors that indicated they may be a threat to aviation security.​

    According to the indictment, the defendant assisted individuals in bypassing the normal security procedures, including the functions performed by a TSA screener or travel document checker to examine persons, property, and other articles entering aircraft and the secure airport area. The indictment further alleges that Walker facilitated the breach of security measures by several airline passengers by, among other things, leading persons through security and bypassing the travel document checker without stopping, preventing scrutiny of that person’s travel and permitting the person to travel under a false name using false identification and travel documents in that name. The defendant also assisted persons in bypassing normal security measures by escorting them through security and directing travelers away from the body image scanner/patdown security line, which can detect items, such as large sums of currency, carried on the person. The indictment further states that on occasion, Walker waited with certain persons at the aircraft departure gate, preventing those travelers from being subjected to random secondary screening. The defendant is also charged with detecting the presence of law enforcement activity and alerting individuals in an effort to interfere with that law enforcement activity.​

    The indictment stems from an investigation on the part of special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Richard W. Kollmar; special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Lev J. Kubiak; special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Resident Agent in Charge Dale Kasprzyk; the Transportation Security Administration, under the direction of Derek DiPietro; and officers of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, under the direction of Chief George Gast.​

    The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.​
  5. Federal Bureau of Investigation Press Release (26 Aug 2011):

    TSA Worker, City of Buffalo Employee Plead Guilty to Federal Charges in Connection with Official Duties

    U.S. Attorney’s Office​
    Western District of New York
    August 26, 2011​
    (716) 843-5700​

    BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Minnetta Walker, 43, an officer with the federal Transportation Security Administration, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, to conspiracy to defraud the United States.​
    Regina R. McCullen, 53, a customer assistant with the City of Buffalo Clerk’s Office, pleaded guilty before Judge Arcara to conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with identification documents.​

    The conspiracy charge against Walker carries a maximum term of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both; while the document conspiracy charge against McCullen carries a maximum term of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.​

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten, who is handling both cases, stated that through February 2011, Walker had been employed by the United States Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), as a behavior detection officer, assigned to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (Buffalo Airport) in Cheektowaga, New York. TSA is an agency responsible for ensuring passenger safety and national security as it relates to the country’s air transportation system. The defendant’s official position required that she observe, detect, and analyze conduct and behavior in persons throughout the airport which indicated a particular traveler could be a threat to aviation security.​
    As part of her guilty plea, defendant Walker admitted (among other things) that while on official duty, she assisted certain individuals, including Derek Frank, in bypassing the normal security procedures, measures, and requirements at the Buffalo Airport. The defendant’s criminal conduct included allowing Frank to travel under a fictitious name, and permitting Frank to bypass the ticket document checker, whose job is to examine persons, property, and other articles entering aircraft and the airport area at the Buffalo Airport. The defendant also on occasion directed Frank to bypass the body image scanner/pat-down security line, and interfered with a screener’s ability to monitor the x-ray of Frank’s belongings.​
    Defendant Walker also admitted that she alerted two individuals, including Antonio Briggs, to the fact that police officers were conducting undercover surveillance of Briggs. Both Frank and Briggs are pending indictment for narcotics conspiracy charges, and are presumed innocent unless and until convicted in a court of law.​

    Sentencing for Walker is scheduled for January 4, 2011, at 12:30 p.m., in Buffalo, N.Y., before Judge Arcara.​

    Defendant McCullen, meanwhile, while on official duty at the City of Buffalo Clerk’s Office, admitted that she used her official position to illegally produce, in July 2010, a birth certificate card issued by the City of Buffalo. While the fingerprint and photograph on the fictitious card was that of Derek Anthony, the name on the birth certificate was that of another person. Thereafter, that same fictitious birth certificate card was used by Derek Frank to travel via airlines between Buffalo, New York and Phoenix, Arizona.​

    Sentencing for defendant McCullen is scheduled for December 20, 2011, at 12:30 p.m., in Buffalo, N.Y., before Judge Arcara.​
    Regarding the Walker conviction, United States Attorney Hochul said, “The public has the right to expect that airport security officers will faithfully perform their important role of keeping air travelers safe.” Hochul added, “When a TSA or any law enforcement officer abuses their position of trust, and instead helps others evade the law, this office will vigorously prosecute that officer regardless of their badge.”​

    Christopher M. Piehota, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Buffalo Office stated “In this case, a federal employee who worked as a behavioral detection officer made the choice to interfere and obstruct security measures. Her acts not only defrauded the government but also allowed others to further criminal acts of their own. The public should be assured that the safe travel of our citizens is an absolute priority for the law enforcement community.”​

    As for McCullen, U.S. Attorney Hochul stated that, “In her particular public office, Regina McCullen was responsible for producing important official identification documents which are regularly used in any number of ways in our society. Such officials must act with the utmost integrity and care. Because McCullen disregarded the responsibilities of her position, and willingly broke the law, she will now be punished accordingly.”​

    The pleas are a part of an ongoing investigation on the part of special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Piehota; Transportation Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, under the direction of Federal Security Director, Derek DePietro; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Dale Kasprzyk; NFTA Transit Police, under the direction of Chief George Gast; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, under the direction of James C. Spero.​
  6. Buffalo News (26 Aug 2011): Ex-officer admits to aiding drug suspects: Says she helped them get through security

    UK Daily Mail (29 Aug 2011): Female TSA agent repeatedly helped drug dealer sneak through security

  7. Federal Bureau of Investigation Press Release (4 Jan 2012):

    TSA Worker Sentenced on Corruption Charges

    U.S. Attorney’s Office​
    Western District of New York
    January 04, 2012​
    (716) 843-5700​

    BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Minnetta Walker, 44, of Buffalo, N.Y., who was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, to be followed by one year supervised released, by U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara.​

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten, who handled the case, stated that Walker was employed by the United States Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), as a behavior detection officer, assigned to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (Buffalo Airport) in Cheektowaga, New York. TSA is responsible for ensuring passenger safety and national security as it relates to the country’s air transportation system. The defendant’s official position required that she observe, detect, and analyze conduct and behavior in persons throughout the airport, which indicated a particular traveler could be a threat to aviation security.​

    The investigation established that while on official duty, Walker assisted certain individuals in bypassing the normal security procedures, measures, and requirements at the Buffalo Airport. The defendant’s criminal conduct included allowing one suspected narcotics trafficker to travel under a fictitious name, and permitting that individual to bypass the ticket document checker, whose job is to examine persons, property and other articles entering aircraft and the airport area at the Buffalo Airport. Walker also on occasion directed the suspected narcotic trafficker to bypass the body image scanner/pat-down security line and interfered with a screener’s ability to monitor the x-ray of his belongings.​

    In addition, the defendant admitted that she alerted at least one other suspected trafficker to the fact that police officers were conducting undercover surveillance of him. The two suspected narcotics traffickers are pending indictment on unrelated narcotics conspiracy charges, and are presumed innocent unless and until convicted in a court of law.​

    Other individuals convicted to date in the public corruption aspects of the investigation consist of former U.S. Airways employee Tinisha Tucker-Anthony and Regina R. McCullen, a former City of Buffalo employee, both of whom provided one of the suspected narcotics traffickers with fraudulent travel and identification documents, respectively. Miguel Guzman, meanwhile, has been convicted of narcotic conspiracy charges in connection with this case, and is awaiting sentencing.​

    U.S. Attorney Hochul stated “As a TSA employee, Minetta Walker represented one of the nation’s last lines of defense when it comes to airline safety and national security. In this position, the public had a right to expect from Walker the highest degree of honesty and integrity. By abusing her position of trust, Walker not only dishonored her profession, she permitted illegal narcotics trafficking to continue to the detriment of the Western New York community. Today’s sentence sends a strong message that such behavior will not be permitted by this office.”​

    The sentencing is part of an ongoing investigation by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Piehota; Transportation Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, under the direction of Federal Security Director, Derek DePietro; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, under the direction of James C. Spero; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Wilbert L. Plummer, Acting Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Division; and NFTA Transit Police, under the direction of Chief George Gast.​

    Wall Street Journal (4 Jan 2012): Former NY TSA agent faces prison in drug case

    KTVU (4 Jan 2012): Former NY TSA agent faces prison in drug case

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