United Airlines cargo agents at San Francisco International Airport have been charged in federal court with stealing huge amounts of marijuana from checked passenger baggage since 2020. This story, which first appeared in The Mercury Times, is pretty weird and raises a few questions.
This is a strange story, but here’s a high-level summary of what we know in chronological order:
- In 2020, a group of United Airlines cargo agents, led by Joel Lamont Dunn and Adrian Webb, began a marijuana theft operation at San Francisco International Airport.
- In June 2021, Dunn and Webb were robbed at gunpoint in the employee parking lot at SFO of an undisclosed amount of marijuana.
- Fast forwarding to October 2022, another associate was arrested in the same employee lot with 30 pounds of marijuana by FBI agents working with an informant within the group.
- Dunn and Webb now face federal charges for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. They’ve been released on bonds, with a trial date still to be set.
This is a puzzling story
This story raises a few questions:
- Is there really this much marijuana in checked bags going through SFO? Dunn, Webb, and their accomplices were reportedly stealing enough marijuana to regularly fill 15-20 gallon trash bags. We also know that the two were reportedly incentivizing their co-conspirators with weekly payouts ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, proportional to the volume of marijuana they could steal.
- How did these baggage handlers know which bags had marijuana in them? Were they tasked by United in finding weed in checked bags or were they doing it on their own?
- How many employees were part of this operation? So far, the only people charged have been Dunn, Webb, and an unnamed co-conspirator.
This peculiar case of United Airlines cargo agents at SFO being implicated in a large-scale marijuana theft operation leaves me with more questions than answers. The sheer volume of stolen marijuana, the apparently seamless identification of bags carrying the drug, and the extent of the involvement of the airline’s employees are puzzling. As the case proceeds, I expect more details will come to light that hopefully answer some of these questions. I’ll keep you posted as this story develops.