Feds: Airport workers used flights to distribute meth


Federal authorities say 10 airport workers at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport used commercial flights to distribute counterfeit methamphetamine that was flown to Charlotte and elsewhere.

Prosecutors announced Tuesday that arrests were made Monday and each of the 10 accused were indicted on a count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, The Associated Press reported.

The Dallas Morning News reported seven worked for Envoy Air, a regional carrier owned by American Airlines. Two others worked for Spirit Airlines, authorities said. The tenth suspect had not been arrested as of Tuesday morning.

>> Read more trending news 

Authorities say beginning in 2016, the group used their positions to skip security and place what they thought was meth on flights. They allegedly had 145 lbs. of the fake drug transported to various domestic destinations.

The bulk of the product was sent to Newark, New Jersey, while other shipments were flown to Phoenix and North Carolina.

Federal prosecutors identified the suspects as 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. They're charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a schedule II controlled substance.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL INDICTMENT

“We have zero tolerance for employees who seek to undermine and evade the security protocols at airports,”  U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said. “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. Working together with federal and local law enforcement partners, we continue to prioritize efforts to help mitigate the insider threat to aviation security.”

One of the defendants, Nelson Pabon, allegedly told undercover officers that he could smuggle C-4 explosives for $5,500 after assuring the officers that it wouldn't explode, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors said no actual explosives or weapons were actually transported.

Envoy issued the following statement on Tuesday, The Dallas Morning News reported:

"At American and Envoy Air, we have an unwavering commitment to the safety and security of our customers and team members. We take this matter very seriously and are cooperating with law enforcement during their investigation."


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Missing NH mother found dead; police searching for 21-year-old son
Missing NH mother found dead; police searching for 21-year-old son

Police in New Hampshire are searching for a 21-year-old man after. they believe, his mother has been found dead. Law enforcement officials had asked the public for help in locating a woman who had been missing since Thursday. Police said 51-year-old Frances Nash, of Chichester, New Hampshire was last heard from on May 17. Her car was also missing. ...
Lava flows toward geothermal plant on Hawaii’s Big Island as workers hurry to shut it down
Lava flows toward geothermal plant on Hawaii’s Big Island as workers hurry to shut it down

An “explosive eruption” at Mount Kilauea's summit on Hawaii's Big Island early Monday prompted officials to warn residents to protect themselves from ash fallout as the volcano eruption continues into its third week. More than 40 structures have been destroyed in the eruption that started May 3. It has since inundated almost 325 acres...
CDC warns pools, hot tubs, water parks are hotbed for disease outbreaks
CDC warns pools, hot tubs, water parks are hotbed for disease outbreaks

You may want to think twice about jumping in that hotel pool or taking the kids to a popular water park nearby.  >> Read more trending news  According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, contaminated recreational waters led to 493 reported disease outbreaks...
2 victims of cougar attack identified, friends grieving death of avid cyclist
2 victims of cougar attack identified, friends grieving death of avid cyclist

Members of Seattle's biking community are grieving the death of a 32-year-old man killed by a cougar as he and a friend biked near North Bend on Saturday. >> Read more trending news  Now, wildlife officials are trying to determine why the encounter with the cougar turned deadly. This is the first fatal cougar attack in the state in nearly...
Jada Pinkett Smith talks hair loss: ‘I was literally shaking in fear’
Jada Pinkett Smith talks hair loss: ‘I was literally shaking in fear’

Jada Pinkett Smith typically comes across as confident and fearless, but she recently opened up about her experience with hair loss as a woman, one that left her covering her hair with turbans. “A lot of people have been asking why I’ve been wearing turbans,” Pinkett Smith, 46, said on an episode of her Facebook Watch show &ldquo...
More Stories