Contributed by Michelle St.Pierre
A total of twelve current and former TSA workers have been indicted on charges of smuggling millions of dollars in cocaine into the US.
The conspiracy moved 20 tons of cocaine through San Juan, Puerto Rico Airport between the years of 1998 and 2016.
According to the Department of Justice, a drug mule would bring anywhere between 8 and 15 kilograms of concealed cocaine in two luggage bags and drop it off with a baggage handler who was with the cartel at the airport. The handler would then bring the two bags to TSA agents at baggage check-in who were in on the scheme.
The TSA agents would then put the bags through x-ray machines that were worked by other TSA agents also in on the scheme. Those TSA agents would then clear the bags and one would take the bags to their designated flight to avoid drug sniffing dogs and other law enforcement. There have been times that the drug mules would even accompany the drugs to the US.
According to the indictment, about $30 million was seized. The government estimated that’s about much they made from all the cocaine smuggled through the airport.
The names of the TSA agents involved in the plot are listed as José Cruz-López, Luis Vázquez-Acevedo, Keila Carrasquillo, Carlos Rafael Adorno-Hiraldo, Antonio Vargas-Saavedra, Javier Ortiz, Tomas Dominguez-Rohena, Edwin Francisco Castro, Luis Vázquez-Acevedo, Ferdinand López, Miguel Ángel Pérez-Rodríguez and Daniel Cruz-Echevarría.
Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico said, “These individuals were involved in a conspiracy to traffic massive quantities of illegal narcotics to the continental United States. These arrests demonstrate the success of the AirTAT ( acronym for Airport Investigations and Tactical Team) initiative, which has successfully allocated a dedicated group of state and federal law enforcement officers, whose mission is to ensure that our airports are not used in the drug traffickers’ illicit businesses.”
H/T: Washington Examiner
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