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

Girl, 15, justified in fatally shooting mother’s boyfriend, officials say
Girl, 15, justified in fatally shooting mother’s boyfriend, officials say

A 15-year-old girl was justified in shooting her mother’s boyfriend as he threatened, attacked and strangled her earlier this month, prosecutors said this week.  >> Read more trending news  Steven Kelley, 46, was yelling that he would cut Chandra Nierman’s throat and kill everyone else in the house, which included her 12-year-old...
Man fatally stabbed trying to stop friend from driving home drunk from baby shower, police say
Man fatally stabbed trying to stop friend from driving home drunk from baby shower, police say

A man was fatally stabbed by his friend Sunday when he tried to stop him from driving home drunk, police said.  >> Read more trending news  Guy Larue, 25, tried to stop a friend who had been drinking heavily at a baby shower from driving home around 5:30 a.m. and they got into a fight, KSAT reported.  The man, who has not...
Car stunt show stops traffic on San Francisco bridge
Car stunt show stops traffic on San Francisco bridge

A “sideshow” of cars doing doughnuts that stopped traffic Sunday morning on the Bay Bridge ended with a driver getting arrested when his car became disabled while showing off, police said.  >> Read more trending news  Video shows three cars doing doughnuts and spinning around each other at 10:45 a.m., while traffic is stopped...
Woman pushed in front of train, 2 injured, suspect in custody, police say
Woman pushed in front of train, 2 injured, suspect in custody, police say

A suspect is in custody and two women are in the hospital after being hit by a train Sunday, police said.  >> Read more trending news  Operations are back to normal after the North-South line of MARTA was temporarily shut down around 5 p.m. while police gathered information and spoke to witnesses. A witness told WSB he saw...
14-year-old surfer bitten by shark off North Carolina coast
14-year-old surfer bitten by shark off North Carolina coast

A teen was bitten twice on the leg by a shark Sunday morning while surfing off Atlantic Beach, officials said. >> Read more trending news  The 14-year-old boy was bitten twice on his right leg below the knee at around 10:47 a.m., Fire Chief Adam Snyder told WITN.  The teen, who has not been identified, was able to swim back to...
More Stories