Nashville airport says pandemic isn’t slowing down drug traffickers

Crime Tracker

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville International Airport’s police K9, Maverick, sniffed out two suitcases full of marijuana Wednesday, a fraction of the more than 2,000 pounds of drugs the airport’s two K9’s have caught in the last year.

“One thing we noticed during the pandemic, it hasn’t slowed down the drug trafficking, it’s stayed the same. There might be a drop off on traveling, but they’re traveling even more,” said BNA’s chief of police David Griswold.

A 20-year-old woman, Tomisha Hamm, was on a flight from Los Angeles, California connecting to Cleveland Wednesday when the dogs sniffed out her suitcases.

“There were a few clothes, but mostly there were 85 pounds of marijuana,” Griswold explained, “In this particular case, the marijuana goes on the streets for over $200,000.”

Hamm was charged with felony possession and intent to distribute, a sentence the district attorney says could be 8-12 years in prison.

But News 2 looked up the court record for the last person caught with a similar amount of marijuana at BNA.

Somphone Temmeraj was arrested with 84 pounds of marijuana disguised as Christmas presents. A judge confirms he paid $850 in fees and is on four years probation.

Most of the marijuana is coming from the West Coast, in states where it is legal, but that’s not all police find.

“It’s different things. We’ve had meth, we’ve had heroin, we’ve had ecstasy, cocaine,” said Griswold.

A spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration tells News 2 that drugs are not the priority, stating: “TSA’s focus is on terrorism and security threats….screening procedures, which are governed by federal law, are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers.”

Griswold adds, “We’re not that far removed from 9/11 so we don’t want guns or something worse coming through here, drugs is not our primary purpose, our primary purpose is anything illegal coming through here.”

BNA currently has six bomb dogs and two drug dogs.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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