A California man was busted trying to board a plane Jan. 22 at Orlando International Airport with 22 pounds of crystal meth, the Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday.
Eli Priestly Brown, of Long Beach, California, was about to board the plane when a TSA agent conducted a random search of his belongings, according to the Sentinel.
When the agents opened his backpack, they discovered several clear bags with a crystal-like substance inside, the local outlet reported.
According to the arrest affidavit, Orlando police were summoned to the scene of the incident to carry out tests on the contents of the bag, the newspaper reported. The bags tested positive for crystal meth. (RELATED: NYPD Uncovers Huge Drug Trafficking Ring, Arrests 14 Men For Dealing Crack Cocaine)
The meth was valued at over $500,000, according to the report. The suspect was also carrying $900 in cash.
DRUGS SEIZED: Thanks to our officers’ close partnership with @TSA, this 22lb. meth stash was found in a passenger’s backpack during his layover. It’s one of the largest amounts of drugs anyone’s recently tried to carry in person; worth $500k. We arrested the passenger. pic.twitter.com/X3oHe2u60O
— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) February 2, 2021
The 46-year-old suspect at first maintained his innocence to the authorities, insisting the bags were not his, according to NBC Miami. But Brown later confided to the detectives that he had met with a man at Los Angeles Airport and exchanged bags under a bathroom stall, NBC Miami reported.
Brown was to fly from Los Angeles to Louisville, K.Y. with a layover in Orlando.
According to the affidavit, the suspect had partaken in the drug trafficking scheme three times before, the Sentinel reported.
Brown was charged with trafficking of amphetamines over 200 grams and is currently being held at the Orange County Jail on a $500,000 bond, according to NBC Miami.
Law enforcement is referring to the incident as one of the largest drug busts in recent history at Orlando International Airport, shared the Sentinel.