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Flying High: Drug Charges at the Airport

suitcase and backpack on airport floor with a plane shown behind them

As you prepare for your holiday travels, it’s important to understand the risks of being charged with a drug offense at the airport. Before packing any illicit substances in your checked or carry-on luggage, read this information from our attorneys at Palmer Perlstein.

Common Drug Charges at Airports

The most common drug offense at airports is drug possession. In more serious cases, individuals caught in possession of a significant quantity of drugs may be charged with drug trafficking.

It’s important to note that most offenses involving drugs at airports can result in federal charges.

How Do Airports Detect Drugs on Passengers?

Airports are high-security locations and have surveillance methods you likely do not even know about. This means that there are numerous ways drugs may be detected.

While some people believe they can transport drugs secretly in their checked luggage, this is not the case. Specialized scanners can alert airport personnel to the presence of drugs and narcotics in luggage. Typically, this is because illegal drugs have a different density than most standard objects in luggage. If an unusually dense object is detected in someone’s luggage, it will be flagged and investigated.

The same is true for individuals going through airport security with a carry-on. The scanner can detect the presence of drugs in the individual’s belongings or on their person. Additionally, any flier may be pulled and required to go through a more intensive screening process prior to boarding.

Another method of screening for drugs at airports is using K-9 search dogs. Dogs may walk through the airport and pick up on scents of illicit substances, then alert their handler to the suspicious person/bag.

Fighting Criminal Charges After an Airport Arrest

Any arrest that takes place at the airport is serious and is likely to result in state or federal charges. If you are arrested for a drug-related offense or otherwise accused of breaking the law at an airport, you need to contact the defense attorneys at Palmer Perlstein as soon as possible. We can look into the details of your arrest and build the strongest defense possible.