A group of 10 airline employees were charged on Tuesday for allegedly conspiring to smuggle drugs across the country on commercial airlines.
Nine airline employees from the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport were arrested and charged with offering to smuggle fake methamphetamine onto commercial flights, the United States attorney in Dallas announced Tuesday. The Dallas Police Department, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Police Department assisted the FBI with the investigation.
According to the release, The counterfeit drugs were transported to various locations throughout the US, including Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, and Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. Seven of those arrested are employees for Envoy, a subsidiary of American Airlines.
Cox said no real meth was provided or transported during the investigation.
One of the defendants also offered to smuggle guns through the airport for a higher fee, prosecutors said. She said over 66 grams of fake methamphetamine were sent to Charlotte, Phonenix, and Newark, NJ, from August 2016 to February 2018.
"The defendants negotiated with the undercover officers and charged a specific amount per kilogram", said Nealy Cox, which turned out to be anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 just to transport the fake drugs.
"This is about greed and people who abuse their positions of trust", Nealy Cox said. "This joint operation allowed us to successfully arrest ten individuals who used their positions of employment and access to compromise an aspect of airport security", said Eric K. Jackson, FBI Dallas Special Agent-In-Charge.
The defendants worked for Envoy Air, which is a regional carrier owned by American Airlines, and for Spirit Airlines. "Working together with federal and local law enforcement partners, we continue to prioritize efforts to help mitigate the insider threat to aviation security".
"Spirit has been advised of this matter and will cooperate fully with law enforcement", the statement read.
Each faces a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a schedule II controlled substance, but some of the 10 are accused of conspiring to move other contraband, such as weapons and explosives, on aircraft departing the airport, according to a news release from the US attorney's office in Dallas.
"DFW and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have a strong partnership that is focused on keeping our customers and employees safe and secure, and these arrests demonstrates how well we work together", said DFW Airport Police Chief Charles Cinquemani.
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