Former Buffalo airport employee sentenced for helping drug dealers

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A former baggage handler at the Buffalo-area airport has been sentenced to more than two years’ probation for helping cocaine dealers smuggle drug money past security.

Federal prosecutors say 31-year-old James Phillips, of Buffalo, was sentenced to 30 months’ probation after being convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Authorities say Phillips helped two drug dealers sneak more than $160,000 in proceeds from cocaine sales past Transportation Security Administration screening procedures at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

Phillips avoided TSA agents and stored the money in an airport bathroom, where Kevin Liburd later picked up the cash.

Liburd and three others involved in the drug operation have been convicted. Liburd was sentenced to eight months in prison. The other three are awaiting sentencing. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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