Pot Smuggling Arrests at LAX Have Surged 166% Since Marijuana Legalization

TSA agents check passengers at LAX in 2018. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

TSA agents check passengers at LAX in 2018. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Michael Vechell had already drawn the attention of an airline worker and two passengers at Los Angeles International Airport by the time he was confronted by police.

Waiting to board his Philadelphia-bound flight with his dog Odie, Vechell had sparked concern when he sidled up to another passenger and asked if she wanted to join his “drug smuggling ring,” authorities say.

Although Vechell told LAX police it was just a misunderstanding, officers demanded to see his checked baggage. Inside, they found nearly 70 pounds of vacuum-sealed marijuana bundled into packages labeled “T-shirts,” “cold weather” and “sexy pants.”

More than a year after California legalized the recreational use of cannabis, trafficking arrests like Vechell’s have surged 166% at LAX, according to arrest records obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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