TSA Workers Help in Smuggling $100M Worth of Coccaine From Puerto Rico Drug Ring
Feb 14, 2017 11:35 AM EST
A ring of current and former U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers were caught by Puerto Rico officers over allegation of smuggling 20 tons of cocaine into the U.S. The Puerto Rico-based ring has been smuggling drugs worth as much as $100 million into the United States for more than a decade now.
The members of the alleged ring include reputable TSA workers and airport employees, who allegedly used their positions as TSA baggage screeners to wave massive amounts of cocaine through security, Fox News reported. The U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico Rosa, Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, announced that the federal employees were indicted Feb. 8 in the District of Puerto Rico on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.
During the 18-year conspiracy, the suspects who worked closely with cocaine suppliers, smuggled 20 tons of cocaine into the U.S., Puerto Rico prosecutors said. The TSA employees were highly paid for their roles. Other suspects included an alleged mule and another person who helped load luggage onto planes.
A House Homeland Security last week revealed that gross irregularities in employee screening were discovered in major airports. Subcommittee found that a majority of airports do not have full employee screening at secure access points after nearly two years of oversight efforts. These airports are unable to demonstrate the security effectiveness of their existing employee screening efforts, which consist largely of randomized screening by TSA officers or airport law enforcement personnel.
José Baquero, federal security director for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands said, "This investigation was initiated by TSA to address employee misconduct and specific insider threat vulnerabilities. TSA strictly has zero tolerance for employees engaged in criminal activity to facilitate contraband smuggling." The suspects will face 10 years to life in prison if convicted.