INDIANAPOLIS — In a matter of days, law enforcement at Indianapolis International Airport made three big marijuana busts involving passengers coming in from San Francisco.
One of the suspects, Joel Shavers, is accused of having five packages of marijuana in a carry-on bag and 18 pounds of marijuana in hard-sided luggage. Shavers refused to talk to police.
Williams is accused of having 17 pounds of marijuana in a hard-sided bag. Williams allegedly told investigators that he was going to get paid for transporting the bag.
On March 3, police say Keenan Thomas admitted that he was planning to sell 10 pounds of marijuana.
Shavers, Williams and Thomas are all charged with dealing in marijuana.
In another case, a K-9 detected drugs in the baggage of 36-year-old Keith Williams on Wednesday, March 8. Williams, who flew to Indianapolis from Los Angeles, admitted to having marijuana in his bag.
When he opened it for a search, officers found vacuum-sealed bags with 11 pounds of marijuana, 1 pound of psilocybin mushrooms and more than 90 THC vapes. He is now facing felony charges for dealing in a controlled substance and dealing in marijuana.
Can you legally bring weed on a plane?
The VERIFY team reported in October 2022, it is not legal to bring weed onto a plane, because federal law applies at airports and during interstate travel. That's even if the state you are flying from allows the legal sale or possession of marijuana. However, the TSA is not actively looking for drugs.
Tyson Daniel, a Virginia lawyer specializing in cannabis law, said that the law is pretty clear-cut with this issue.
"No," he said. "That was the short answer."
Daniel pointed out that weed remains illegal under federal law, which is why transporting the substance on a plane is restricted.
"No matter how you slice it," he said. "If you're going through TSA, you're necessarily part of a federal rubric."
That being said, TSA agents are not actively looking for weed or any other drug, according to a spokesperson for the agency.
"TSA officers are not proactively seeking out drugs," the spokesperson said. "If, during the normal/routine screening operation, our officers come across marijuana or any other drugs, we immediately notify local law enforcement. It is up to local law enforcement as to whether there is any criminal charge."
For example, the local law enforcement agency for Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport is the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police. A spokesperson for MWAA sent our team the following brief statement:
"Airports Authority Police enforce laws in accordance with the Code of Virginia," the statement read.