[Archive Home][Date Prev][Date Next][Index]
"Arrests target Puerto Rico airport drug running ring"
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Arrests target Puerto Rico airport drug running ring
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, (Reuters) - Thirty-six people were arrested on
Wednesday in a crackdown on a drug trafficking ring that used Puerto Rico's
main airport to smuggle large quantities of cocaine off the island aboard
U.S.-bound passenger flights, authorities said.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said the 36 detainees, including 22
suspects rounded up at San Juan's International Airport, were among 45
people indicted for smuggling more than 61,000 pounds (28,000 kg) of cocaine
out of the U.S. territory on commercial flights to the U.S. mainland since
"It's an important blow," said Laila Rico, a spokeswoman for the DEA's
Caribbean Division, which is headquartered in Puerto Rico.
"The Puerto Rico airport is sought-after by drug dealers because it's
basically a mid-point between South American countries and the United States
and offers an easy entry point," Rico said.
She was referring to the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan,
the point from which the bulk of the drugs were flown to Miami and Orlando,
in Florida, and Newark, New Jersey, aboard flights operated by American
The DEA said in a statement that some suspects caught up in the drug bust
were current or former American Airlines employees and airport personnel,
who used a designated bathroom to hand over cocaine to couriers preparing to
board U.S.-bound flights.
Cargo handlers on the payroll of the drug ring also worked to ensure that
drug-laden suitcases were placed aboard U.S.-bound flights, the DEA said.
"The defendants in this investigation not only utilized their positions and
security access to smuggle large quantities of illegal narcotics, but they
also compromised the safety and security at one of the Caribbean's most
vital airports," Pedro Janer, the special agent who runs the DEA's
operations across the Caribbean, said in a statement.
Puerto Rico, a U.S. commonwealth of about 4 million people, has long been
known as a leading transshipment point for the smuggling of illicit drugs
out of South America and into the United States.
Three of the suspects arrests on Wednesday were detained in the United
States, according to Rico. She said two were nabbed at Miami International
Airport and one at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
3 Hartsfield workers accused in drug conspiracy (2012)
TSA drug-smuggling case stems from LAX mix-up (2012)
A deeper look at attempted drug-smuggling at Dulles International Airport
DHS IG: Mexican cartels use money, sex to bribe U.S. border agents (2011)
Feds bust Salt Lake City Airport drug smuggling operation (2011)
International drug smuggling ring linked to Houston airport (2011)
Detroit Metro Airport employees charged in drug smuggling schemes (2011)
Orlando airport's efforts fail to prevent gun, drug smuggling (2008)
Three charged with Hartsfield drug smuggling (2008)
Airline workers among 18 people charged with drug trafficking at JFK (2007)
Huge cocaine stash found on O'Hare plane (Apr 2007)
Feds seize $400,000 of cocaine at O'Hare (Aug 2007)
Airport Security and the DC Shuffle
Do you have an opinion about this story?
Share it with other readers in our CAA Discussion Forums
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
If you have any queries regarding this issue, please Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org