SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced the arrest and filing of a criminal complaint against Johnathon Lomeli, a former Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent. The complaint alleges that Lomeli, while working at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), used fraud or deceit to falsely imprison a woman going through security.
“Women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect everywhere,” said Attorney General Becerra. “There is no excuse for this kind of alleged behavior. It’s not okay on the street, it’s not okay in our schools, and it’s certainly not welcome at the airport. At the California Department of Justice, we’ll continue to do everything in our power to hold those who break the law accountable.”
The criminal complaint was filed as a part of a joint effort involving the California Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Air Marshals Service, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Airport Police, and the TSA. The incident allegedly occurred in June of 2019 and involves one felony count of false imprisonment for intentionally and unlawfully detaining an individual through the use of fraud or deceit. The felony allegedly occurred outside of the primary security screening area. LAX is one of the busiest transportation hubs in the world. According to Los Angeles World Airports, approximately 88.1 million passengers arrived at or departed from LAX in 2019.
Attorney General Becerra is committed to taking on bad actors and supporting survivors of sexual violence. Last year, Attorney General Becerra co-led a multistate effort calling on the Trump Administration to withdraw a proposal that threatens to weaken protections against sexual harassment and violence in schools. The Attorney General also filed multiple charges against an organized crime ring operating across the state for alleged felonies involving sex trafficking, tax fraud, and money laundering. In 2018, the Attorney General announced the seizure and shutdown of the world’s largest online brothel, Backpage.com. He also called on Congress to pass legislation that would prohibit employers from mandating arbitration to resolve workplace sexual harassment claims. In addition, as part of Assembly Bill 3118, the California Department of Justice has provided grants to cities and counties to help them count the number of untested sexual assault kits in their jurisdictions.
It is important to note that criminal charges are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.
A copy of the complaint is available here.