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Ex-L.A. City fire chiefs son charged with bribing TSA agent

10/19/2011, 5 p.m.

The son of Los Angeles' recently retired fire chief has been charged with bribing a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent at LAX to help him smuggle at least 10 pounds of marijuana onto a flight.

Millage J. Peaks IV, the 23-year-old son of former Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Millage Peaks, was arrested Sunday and charged a day later with bribing a public official, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

TSA employee Dianna Perez, 28, of Inglewood, also was arrested and charged with accepting the alleged bribe, Eimiller said.

Peaks and Perez appeared before a Los Angeles federal magistrate judge Monday for the first time.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Peaks had checked between 10 and 15 pounds of marijuana in his luggage onto an early morning flight to Boston.

The arrests occurred after an American Airlines baggage handler smelled cannabis in a bag and alerted supervisors, according to the affidavit. Peaks' bags were then removed from the aircraft and searched by TSA agents, according to FBI agent David Gates. "Fourteen plastic bags, containing what (Los Angeles International Airport Police Department) officers believed amounted to approximately 10-15 pounds of marijuana, were found concealed inside Peaks' bags," Gates wrote in the affidavit. "TSA then removed Peaks from the aircraft and, together with LAXPD, questioned him concerning the marijuana. Peaks told officers that Perez was involved."

Peaks allegedly promised to pay Perez $500 per suitcase that held marijuana, and later told officers that Perez had helped him move pot through the airport on nine previous occasions, the document states.