Oakland airport worker gets 9 years for smuggling

A baggage handler has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison for smuggling methamphetamine through a secured door at the Oakland International Airport, prosecutors said.

Siosiua Fihaki, 32, of Hayward, pleaded guilty on Dec. 15 to one count of distributing methamphetamine.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that in pleading guilty, Fihaki admitted that on May 29, 2014, while working as a baggage handler at the Oakland airport for a flight bound for Honolulu, he used his airport employee credentials to access a secure door at the airport while carrying a duffel bag full of methamphetamine.

Fihaki also admitted he put the duffel bag into the belly of the airplane with other checked luggage, according to prosecutors.

The duffel bag was seized by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Honolulu and the subsequent search revealed nine pounds of methamphetamine, prosecutors said.

In sentencing Fihaki on Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White said the case was particularly troubling because Fihaki, as a baggage handler, was entrusted with the safety of everyone who flies through the airport.

White, according to prosecutors, also said he was extremely concerned that in an era of enhanced security for airlines Fihaki chose to abuse the trust of the flying public.

In addition to sentencing Fihaki to nine years in federal prison, White ordered that Fihaki be on supervised release for three years after he’s let out of prison.

Prosecutors said the case against Fihaki resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation was conducted and funded by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a multi-agency task force that coordinates long-term narcotics trafficking investigations.