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100 Pounds Of Marijuana Wrapped As Birthday Presents Seized At LAX

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Pot wrapped as birthday presents didn't make it past TSA screeners today at LAX, who turned over nearly 100 pounds of the stuff to officials.

The marijuana was inside four pieces of checked luggage early this morning, the LA Daily News reports.

The bags were found in Terminal 1 at around 5:15 a.m. and were bound for Atlanta on an AirTran Airways flight, TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said.

"The bags were going through the screening process,” Melendez told the Daily News. "There was some sort of alarm, and we had to open the bag. We found these big packages of what turned out to be marijuana wrapped up to look like a birthday gift."

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The street value of the marijuana was estimated at $300,000.

The suspects had made themselves scarce in the meantime, Melendez said. They did not board the flight to Atlanta and the TSA agents did not see them. Presumably, officials will be reviewing surveillance video of the AirTran counter.

The case is now in the hands of a task force made up of officials with the Drug Enforcement Agency, Los Angeles police and Los Angeles World Airports police.

Melendez said it’s common for TSA screeners to find illegal drugs, "especially in a state like California, where medical marijuana is legal, it’s something that we come across quite frequently at our checkpoints."

In a separate incident today at LAX, a suspicious item was found near the Korean Airlines ticket counter in the Bradley International Terminal, prompting a partial evacuation of the ticket area.

The item was spotted around 12:45 p.m., and the area was evacuated and the bomb squad brought in. By about 1:30 p.m., the item was determined to merely be luggage containing clothing.