TSA agent arrested for involvement in meth operation - WKRN News 2

TSA agent arrested for involvement in meth operation

Posted:
COLUMBIA, Tenn. -

An agent with the Transportation Security Administration at Nashville International Airport is jailed in Maury County after authorities busted a meth operation Tuesday night.

Members of the Maury County Drug Task Force were conducting a routine parole check when they discovered the pungent smell of an alleged "cook" in progress at the Hampshire House Apartments in Columbia.

Police arrested two people including Erin Barger, a 29-year-old TSA screener.

Nashville's News 2 Investigates obtained photographs that show the woman being led to the Maury County jail wearing a decontamination suit.

Drug agents said the suit was necessary because everything in her apartment was possibly exposed to chemicals associated with methamphetamines.

"We found a one pot meth cook.  The [pink] stuff on the bottom is the binders from sudafedrine and ammonia nitrate and the black is burned out pieces of lithium.  This liquid here is Coleman camp fuel. If this bottle explodes, this whole complex goes up in a short amount of time," a Maury County drug agent explained.

When asked whether Barger had anything to say regarding the incident, the drug agent responded by saying, "She made statement she worked with TSA as a screener.  She was asked could she pass a drug screen.  Her words, she [said she] ‘didn't want to talk about it.'"

Barger's boyfriend James Wall was also taken into custody.

Nashville's News 2 Investigates went to the apartment and Wednesday and found several doors with red notices that read, "Warning."

Thirty-four-year-old resident Orlandus Richardson has one of the signs on his door. 

He lives directly below the couple and has two children, ages six and seven.

"I don't feel safe.  It was upstairs from us.  I have children and it is unsafe.  To come back here and this sign is on the door and to come back here and we have no place to be settled," Richardson said.

He continued, "My children are my concern.  My child has bronchitis and asthma.  When we run the air conditioning it brings the fumes down, my lips were burning just breathing it in."

Richardson said the couple lived upstairs for about two months and fought a lot.

He also said there was a pungent odor in the air seemingly all the time.

"Yes, we cleaned up and the smell still there never went away.  It was coming from upstairs.  It makes me feel, words cannot describe it.  Thankfully it didn't explode or anything.  [It] could have taken our lives.  Innocent lives were in danger," Richardson said.

The apartment complex is also located across the street from the Kids Kountry Learning Center and drug agents say the  charges against the duo could be enhanced.

Currently, Barger is charged with manufacturing of meth, initiation to manufacture meth, possession for resale and possession of drug paraphernalia.

In a statement the TSA said, in part, appointment is "contingent upon a negative drug test result.  Any individual tentatively selected for this position will be required to submit to urinalysis to screen for illegal drug use prior to appointment."

"As is the case any time there is an employee arrest, we will review all the facts and take appropriate action as necessary," the statement concluded.

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