TSA employee charged with helping drug dealers at airport

The Buffalo News | March 1, 2011
By Dan Herbeck

A federal Homeland Security employee who assisted in screening passengers at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport was arrested today on charges that she provided help to drug dealers at the airport.

Minnetta Walker, 43, of Glenwood Avenue, was arrested this morning by agents from the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. She pleaded not guilty late this afternoon before Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr.

Police said she is alleged to have assisted "known drug traffickers" with information and with getting through airport security checkpoint.

"There have been some developments in an investigation at the airport. There has been an arrest," said Earl Gould, spokesman for the Buffalo FBI office.

Walker works for the Transportation Security Administration, a Homeland Security agency whose workers conduct the security screening of passengers and baggage passing through the Buffalo airport, law enforcement officials said.

TSA officials had no immediate comment on the arrest when contacted by The Buffalo News.

Walker has been watched and followed for months, after federal agents became aware of her alleged ties to Buffalo drug dealers, authorities told The News.

Top officials of the TSA in Buffalo assisted in the probe, as did U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement investigators and officers of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, who work at the airport.

NFTA Police Chief George Gast said he was aware of the arrest and the investigation.

"I can say that we have no evidence or indication that any other employees were involved," Gast said.

Walker, who told the judge she makes $40,000 a year at her airport job, said "no comment" when approached by a reporter after her court appearance.