AirTran employee gets 10 years for smuggling machine gun, cocaine at Atlanta airport

An AirTran Airlines baggage handler has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for agreeing to smuggle a Mac-11 machine gun onto a commercial flight along with five kilograms of cocaine.

A Homeland Security investigations undercover operation nabbed 30-year-old Rasondo Maurice Norris of Stone Mountain after agents learned last May that he would help people bring contraband on flights for a fee, according to United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.

Norris would use his security clearance to get allow contraband to evade TSA security at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Yates said.

The federal sting operation had a couple of moving parts. On May, 23, an undercover agent gave Norris a bag that he was told contained five kilos of cocaine. Norris returned the bag to the undercover agent once the agent had cleared security.

On May 30, the operation was repeated only this time Norris was told the bag contained $500,000 in drug transaction proceeds. On June 5, an undercover agent again engaged Norris to smuggle three kilos of cocaine and a Mac-11 machine gun, which agents had rendered inoperable, magazine and a silencer.

Here is the kicker. Norris, the guy who was purportedly making these purported multi-million transactions possible, was paid a fee of $600 to $800 each time he carried a package around security.

“Security screening at our airports is vital to keeping citizens safe,” Yates said in a statement released to “By using his credentials to bypass security with backpacks of contraband, the defendant tried to allow drugs and a machine gun on board a commercial flight. Public safety is a responsibility we take seriously, and our office will continue to prosecute those who are endangering our citizens.”

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