LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A Compton man pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges, after trying to smuggle methamphetamine inside potato chips bags at Los Angeles International Airport.
Lemuel Giovani Espinosa, 21, was going through security when TSA officers saw something odd in his backpack during the X-ray screening process at the United terminal.
Officers found nearly five pounds of meth concealed inside at least two “T.G.I. Friday’s Potato Skins” bags . . . cheddar and bacon flavor, officials said.
“Drug traffickers are always trying novel ways to conceal their contraband,” said Marlon V. Miller, deputy special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles.
Espinosa was planning to fly to Narita, Japan with the contraband, where he would be paid $6,000.
Homeland Security officials estimate the meth had a street value of more than $200,000 in Japan.
Espinosa was charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.