Dallas airline workers indicted in smuggling scheme

Authorities bust drug smuggling ring, operation flew into CLT airport

Ten American Airlines workers are charged after 'smuggling 145lb of fake meth onto commercial flights out of Dallas Fort Worth airport' in undercover FBI sting

The defendants then arranged for the transportation and delivery of what they believed to be 66 kilograms of methamphetamine.

Prosecutors said the defendants used their position at two commercial airlines to bypass security measures as they accepted payment for smuggling counterfeit drugs.

Seven of the workers were employed by Envoy Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines.

Nine arrests had been made as of Tuesday, according to authorities.

"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.

The drugs were sent on planes to North Carolina, New Jersey and Arizona where they were picked up by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents at the other end of the route.

The 10 were charged Monday on a count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance, reports theDallas Morning News.




'Smugglers are constantly seeking new ways to move illegal contraband across the country and we will do whatever necessary to thwart these criminals at every turn. "We at the Federal Bureau of Investigation will continue to work diligently with our partners to ensure we aggressively investigate anyone who poses a threat to or attempts to compromise any aspect of USA aviation security".

The indictments also allege at least one of the defendant's claims that he and his co-conspirators could smuggle anything onto commercial planes, including guns and explosives.

The airlines involved say they are cooperating with federal investigators.

The men also agreed to ship C-4 explosives along with drugs, but they were never sent.

A Spirit spokesman quoted by Dallas News said the airline "has been advised of this matter and will cooperate fully with law enforcement".

The indictment charges Nelson Pabon, 47, Jean Loui Vargas-Malave, 28, Juan Camacho Melendez, aka "Kendo Kaponi" and "Anthony", 22, Ruben Benitez-Matienzo, 45, Jose Luis Gaston-Rolon, 24, Joshua Israel Pagan Zapata, 21, Domingo Villafane Martinez, III, 30, Luis Javier Collazo Rosado, aka "Luisito", 21, Michael LNU, and Cristian David Cruz-Rodriguez, 23.

Tuesday's bust marks the second time in three years that DFW airport employees have been arrested for allegedly transporting fake drugs out of the airport.

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