Airport officials and federal authorities said Thursday that they have tightened security at Los Angeles International Airport because of the recent arrest of an elevator mechanic suspected of smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States, reports the Los Angeles Times. Officials for LAX and U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the measures included security adjustments at the federal inspection area inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Authorities declined to describe the changes to protect airport security.
Officials said the improvements were made following the arrest of Roberto Amaya Canchola, 53, on Aug. 23 at LAX, where he has worked as an elevator mechanic for more than 20 years. Authorities believe he smuggled in at least 15 illegal immigrants, including two with criminal records who had previously been deported. They suspect that he might be part of a larger smuggling ring that used him to gain access to restricted areas at LAX. According to court records, Canchola allegedly used his airport security clearances and a key to terminal elevators to help illegal immigrants skirt customs and immigration checks after arriving aboard Mexicana Airlines flights.