WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A former Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at the Westchester County Airport in White Plains was sentenced Thursday to three years and nine months in jail for taking cash bribes to allow drugs to be trafficked through the airport, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut David B. Fein announced.
Brigitte Jones, 49, will serve an additional three years of supervised release, according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s office.
She pleaded guilty on April 26 to one count of extortion under color of right and one count of receipt of a bribe by a public official. She was arrested as part of “Operation Blue Coast,” an investigation into the large-scale trafficking of oxycodone pills from Florida to Connecticut that has led to 20 arrests.
“This defendant knew that a drug trafficker was transporting illegal narcotics and narcotics trafficking proceeds through Westchester Country Airport,” Fein said in a statement. “Instead of doing the job she was sworn to do, stopping and revealing this illegal activity, she took cash to allow it to continue.”
The sting operation began May 19, 2011 when the Florida trafficker, who was cooperating with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration at that time, paid Jones $200 at a bar in White Plains. She accepted two more cash payments of $500 the following month, the statement said.
The trafficker told Jones he would need her help to take an excess amount of oxycodone pills through security the next day, which were not distributed. According to the press release, Jones told him: “Just tell me what time you’re coming in. Tell me what flight you’re going to be on, what time you’re going to be at the airport. When you get to the airport and you’re there and you’re checking in at the counter, you let me know so when you’re coming through security, I’ll take care of the rest.”
The next day, she didn’t stop the trafficker while he carried 1,500 pills, which were placebos, through security at Westchester County Airport.
In addition to Jones, Michael Brady, a former Westchester County Police officer pleaded guilty to federal charges. He is now serving a 37-month prison sentence. A former Florida State Trooper and two other TSA officers have also pleaded guilty to federal charges.