Port of Walla Walla commissioners fire airport janitor

Elias Alonso had been suspended after his arrest last month in a drug case.

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WALLA WALLA -- Port of Walla Walla commissioners have fired the longtime janitor at the Walla Walla Regional Airport who was arrested last month after suspected methamphetamine was found in the terminal.

Elias Alonso, who had been suspended indefinitely with pay, was terminated effective this Saturday. In taking the action Thursday after meeting in executive session, commissioners cited the pending drug charge against Alonso and poor work performance.

Alonso is charged in Superior Court with possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine. His trial is scheduled for March 14.

Officials said an airport employee discovered the nearly seven ounces of suspected meth -- with a street value of about $14,000 -- in the janitorial room Dec.14.

Alonso reportedly told a Walla Walla County sheriff's detective he found the container in the parking lot and intended to inform the airport's security coordinator, but forgot.

Law enforcement officials speculate that Alonso may have been acting as a "mule," facilitating distribution of drugs from secure areas of the airport. But airport officials say there is no evidence any transactions took place in the secure area of the terminal building.

Alonso was arrested Dec. 17, but bail was posted later that day and he was released from the County Jail pending further court proceedings.

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