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.

Comments (6)
  1. Melvin Blake says:

    Press 2 for spanish…

    “Espinosa” you know what I mean Jose? Si? Now, who is to blame for the saturated drug problem in the US? This is just getting so very obvious, again. Execute him instead of giving him life, save our tax dollar. They ain’t worth a dime… si?

  2. lala63 says:

    Lemuel Giovani Espinosa to self … “DAMN! I THOUGHT those chip felt heavy!” What a TOOL !!!! hahahah

  3. lala63 says:

    Next time my best friend from Texas decides to bring me another 5lbs BBQ Brisket frozen, and wrapped in tin foil (from my favorite place in South Texas) in her carry on … I got to teach her what to say – – – “uh, what? How the HELL did THAT get in there???! That’s not MINE!!!” And by the way – isn’t it strange that above mentioned item was never noticed when there are tons of new rules about sizes of hairspray, finger nail scissors, etc. I mean, even if they saw a block wrapped in tin foil in a carry on – why would they EVER assume it was frozen beef???!!! Happy to get my BBQ. Concerned that people think all this new security is working.

  4. Narita San says:

    With a name like Lemuel Giovani Espinosa from Compton flying from LAX to Japan, it should already raise questions even if he didn’t bring any contraband. Living in Japan my entire life, I have never seen a hispanic or a black male roam the streets of Tokyo or Narita

    1. wobbles says:

      That must be nice.

  5. wobbles says:

    So the TSA guys just happened to have 5 pounds of meth sitting around to plant on someone they andomly picked out?

    You’re an idiot.

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