Mechanic Charged With Smuggling Illegal Immigrants Past Guards at LAX

AP, September 4, 2008

An elevator mechanic at Los Angeles International Airport has been arrested in a federal sting operation and charged with smuggling illegal immigrants into the country by taking them out of the terminal before they were screened by authorities, according to a published report.

Longtime LAX employee Roberto Amaya Canchola, 53, was arrested at the airport on Aug. 23 by federal immigration agents, the Los Angeles Times reported in a story posted on its Web site Wednesday night.

Authorities believe Canchola, of North Hills, had led at least 15 illegal immigrants out of the airport before they had gone through immigration and customs inspection and was part of a larger smuggling operation.

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All the illegal immigrants Canchola is suspected of smuggling arrived on Mexicana flights from Guanajuato, Mexico, officials said. Two of them had criminal records and had previously been deported.

A federal affidavit said Canchola could be seen on surveillance video on July 19 and 26 taking a total of six passengers without luggage through a

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