Woman boarding flight to Las Vegas found with pot

An Atwater woman bound for Las Vegas had her travel plans sidetracked Sunday when security officers allegedly discovered marijuana in her purse.

Lt. Floyd Higdon of the Merced Police Department said Tammy Reichbrown, 46, was arrested at Merced Municipal Airport at 11:45 a.m. as she was preparing to board a Mesa Airlines flight to Las Vegas.

Higdon said Reichbrown was going through the preboarding security check when she was randomly pulled aside for a luggage check. While searching her purse, security agents opened a container inside her purse and discovered about 17 grams of marijuana. Reichbrown was detained until Merced police arrived.

Higdon said Reichbrown was issued a citation to appear in court on a charge of possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. The case will be referred to the District Attorney's Office for prosecution.

Lt. Matt Williams said such arrests do not happen very often and most passengers aren't that lax. Because Merced's airport is a small terminal, some people might think security isn't that stringent.

"If there's anyplace you're going to get searched, it's at an airport. I'm not sure what she was thinking," Williams said.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209-385-2485 or