Any normal person found guilty of stealing $40,000 from, say, a bank or an employer, would likely be sentenced to at least five years of prison. But when you work for the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), you can expect to be given special legal treatment and sent on your way.
The Associated Press reports that two former TSA screeners, 44-year-old Coumar Persad and 31-year-old Davon Webb, both of which worked at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, have pleaded guilty to grand larceny, obstructing governmental administration, and official misconduct, for stealing nearly $40,000 from an airport traveler’s luggage. But rather than receive a normal prison sentence for such crimes, the two were sentenced to just six months in prison with five years of probation.
Reports indicate that Persad, who was an X-ray luggage screener at the time, had spotted the wad of cash in a suitcase while monitoring the X-ray screen. He reportedly then contacted Webb, who worked in another baggage area, to watch for the bag and mark it with special tape. Persad later intercepted the bag in another baggage handling area, and proceeded to open it up and take the cash.
All in all, the two thieves snagged $39,980, which was later retrieved by police from the men’s homes. But based on typical sentencing guidelines, the punishment the two men received for their crimes is inadequate, and indicative of the lax manner in which TSA agents who violate the law are treated within the justice system.
Grand larceny alone is enough to warrant a much longer prison sentence than just six months. And when you add the other two charges into the mix, sentencing could easily top 15 or 20 years. But because these agents worked for the government, they apparently are not subject to the same treatment as the rest of the general public.
TSA “agents” are not actually agents at all, however. They are not law enforcement, and they do not legally or constitutionally hold any type of special authority over anyone. The TSA you see working at airports, in fact, are hired screeners that are technically all in violation of the law for impersonating law enforcement officers (http://www.prisonplanet.com/congresswoman-tsa-screeners-should-stop-impersonating-federal-law-enforcement-officers.html).