The Oakland Airport on August 11, 2005 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Oakland airport ex-employee pleads guilty to marijuana smuggling

OAKLAND, Calif. — Federal prosecutors say a former baggage handler at Oakland International Airport has pleaded guilty to conspiring with other airport employees to smuggle marijuana.

The U.S. Attorney Office said former Southwest Airlines baggage handler Keith Mayfield pleaded guilty to the charges Wednesday in federal court.

The office says the 37-year-old Mayfield admitted that between 2013 and 2015 he used his security badge at least 40 times to get through screening areas while carrying suitcases filled with marijuana. He then handed off the luggage to passengers waiting to board planes, who would transport them as carry-on to cities nationwide.

Mayfield was indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2015 along with 12 co-defendants, including two other former baggage handlers.

Mayfield is free while awaiting trial on a $200,000 bond.