A former flight attendant for Hawaiian Airlines has been busted for possessing drugs.
William Sasaki is now facing federal drug charges, along with an alleged accomplice. Sasaki’s attorney would not speak to KHON2 about his client’s case, but the bust raises more concerns about security at airports.
A federal criminal complaint reveals the takedown of a former Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant acting as an alleged drug courier. The complaint says drug agents were tipped off that William Sasaki would be on a plane scheduled to arrive in Honolulu on March 23.
According to the criminal complaint, drug enforcement agents and officers with the airport task force confronted Sasaki shortly after he exited the jetway. He was one of the last to leave the airplane.
Agents asked if they could search his roll-away luggage. He consented. Agents found a white crystal-like substance that later tested positive for crystal methamphetamine. Court papers say about 500 grams were found Sasaki’s luggage.
The next location took investigators to Kahului, Maui. Officers listened in on a phone call Sasaki made to a man and the two agreed to meet in the Costco parking lot for an exchange.
The next day, agents and Maui police witnessed the exchange and arrested Robert Silva, caught with what turned out to be fake drugs supplied by the authorities.
Silva later told investigators that he gave money to Sasaki to buy the drugs on the mainland, and that Sasaki was to deliver the meth to him. Silva would later drop off the drugs to another man for which he would be paid $10,000.
The two are charged with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams of meth and will appear in federal court for their preliminary hearing on May 30.
KHON2 wanted to know if airline employees are given a special status when dealing with Transportation Security Administration security procedures. According to their website, the TSA has a screening system referred to as the Known Crew Member, or KCM, program.
This program is open to pilots and flight attendants and allows them special access at airports, but they must abide by rules such as wearing a company-approved uniform. They must not carry a prohibited item, such as a firearm, or items that belong to someone else, and they may be subject to random screening. The TSA warns employees that the KCM program is a privilege, not a right.
A Hawaiian Airlines spokesperson says Sasaki was immediately placed on leave after his arrest late last month and that he resigned from the company on April 17.
The spokeswoman could not say whether Sasaki was on duty at the time of the bust, or whether the company has tightened its procedures.
- Veteran pilot explains screening process for flight crews – Apr. 23, 2014