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TSA Agent Charged With Fraudulently Holding A Female Traveler At LAX

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A former LAX Transportation Security Agent has been arrested and charged with fraudulently holding a female traveler outside the primary security screening area.

Johnathon Lomeli, 22, is charged with one felony count of false imprisonment and violating the personal liberty of the victim. The incident allegedly occurred in June 2019.

According to a statement provided by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the charges were brought as a joint effort between the California Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Air Marshals Service, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Airport Police, and the TSA.

The TSA condemned Lomeli’s reported actions in a statement provided to LAist:

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TSA does not tolerate illegal, unethical or immoral conduct. The behavior described in the state charging documents is unacceptable and an affront to the hardworking and committed members of our workforce. The individual charged with these crimes is no longer with the agency and we pledge to fully cooperate with the ongoing law enforcement investigation into this matter.

In a declaration filed in support of an arrest warrant, Carlos Llamas with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force stated that Lomeli told the traveler, who had lost her identification and debit cards, that she was required to undergo an additional search in a private room.

According to Llamas’ filing, Lomeli then instructed the woman to partially disrobe, and made a lewd comment about her body.

The formal complaint states that Lomeli will be required to provide a DNA sample as part of the investigation.

“Women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect everywhere,” Becerra said in a statement. “There is no excuse for this kind of alleged behavior. It’s not okay on the street, it’s not okay in our schools, and it’s certainly not welcome at the airport.”

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Lomeli was released on bond Thursday, and is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 27.