Texas airport workers used flights to distribute meth

Authorities bust drug smuggling ring, operation flew into CLT airport

Ten American Airlines workers have been charged with smuggling drugs out of Dallas Fort Worth Airport on eight different commercial flights.

"He and his co-conspirators could smuggle anything onto planes, including guns", said Cox.

"This case shows the lengths that these individuals would go to - individuals who are trusted with insider knowledge of our commercial airport system - to just obtain cash", Cox said.

Authorities bust drug smuggling ring, operation flew into CLT airport

Neither the nine people arrested Tuesday nor the one suspect still on the lam had any prior connections to drug gangs, U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox told reporters Tuesday.

No actual drugs or explosives were ever smuggled, according to authorities.

All of the men have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, they added. As part of it, they agreed to smuggle drugs for the undercover agents in exchange for $1500 per kilo that was transported.

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According to the release, The counterfeit drugs were transported to various locations throughout the USA, including Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, and Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. "We at the Federal Bureau of Investigation will continue to work diligently with our partners to ensure we aggressively investigate anyone who poses a threat to or attempts to compromise any aspect of USA aviation security". "These individuals were more than willing to use their position of power at the airport to bypass security measures and exploit security vulnerabilities". Two others worked for Spirit Airlines.

The defendants would also act as lookouts or engage in counter-surveillance to undermine police presence.

The defendants worked for Envoy Air, which is a regional carrier owned by American Airlines, and for Spirit Airlines. "We take this matter very seriously and are cooperating with law enforcement during their investigation", the company said.

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The indictment charges 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. The defendants were arrested Monday and will make an appearance in federal court later this week, the Justice Department said.

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