FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Top News

American Airline Employees Arrested For Using Commercial Aircraft To Ship Drugs

September 15, 2009  | 


Eight American Airlines employees were among the 23 people arrested in Miami and Puerto Rico as part of Drug Enforcement Administration's "Operation Heavy Cargo" that uncovered a drug trafficking organization that used commercial aircraft to import cocaine.

In the four-count indictment, the defendants are charged with aiding and abetting, as well as participating in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 9,000 kilograms of cocaine aboard American Airlines commercial aircrafts.

A drug-trafficking organization that was allegedly led by Wilfredo Rodríguez Rosado began operating around 1999 and has been responsible for smuggling over $19 million worth of cocaine into the country, according to the DEA. Rodríguez Rosado recruited and organized a group of American Airlines employees to ensure that suitcases loaded with kilograms of cocaine were smuggled into American Airlines aircrafts and transported to Miami and other U.S. cities.

"Today's arrests are examples of DEA's success in aggressively pursuing those criminal organizations that exploit vulnerabilities in our airports, airline recruits and air transportation employees to facilitate their drug trafficking activities," said Javier F. Peña, special agent in charge. "By denying the drug traffickers alternate smuggling routes, we disrupt the flow of drugs into Puerto Rico and discourage the use of the island as a trans-shipment point in the Caribbean."

Four of the defendants are charged with attempt to posses with the intent to distribute approximately 20 kilograms of cocaine in June 2009; a transaction the defendants were unable to complete for reasons beyond their control. The indictment also includes an $18 million forfeiture count for property throughout Puerto Rico.

"The United States Attorney's Office, along with our state and federal law enforcement counterparts, will continue investigating and prosecuting drug trafficking organizations which use our island as a trans-shipment point for drugs to the U.S. mainland. The use of commercial aircraft to smuggle narcotics in and out of Puerto Rico, also creates a serious threat to our national security," said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

If convicted, the defendants face a minimum of ten years imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment, with fines of up to $4 million.
Agents from the Bayamón Strike Force, the Puerto Rico Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation participated during the investigation and arrests this morning.

Read the full press release from the DEA.

Tags: Drug Trafficking, DEA, Drug Enforcement, Smuggling


Be the first to comment on this story





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent News

LAPD's Most Wanted Fugitive Found Through Facebook
For 11 years, Eduardo Rodriguez was one of Los Angeles' most wanted fugitives, an alleged...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine