Published on : Tuesday, February 14, 2017
A ring of current and former U.S. Transportation Security Administration workers have been prosecuted in Puerto Rico. They have allegedly smuggled 20 tons of cocaine worth as much as $100 million into the U.S. over more than a decade.
According to the media reports, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez announced that 12 members of the drug ring had been arrested on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.
Included in the arrests are TSA workers and airport employees who used their baggage screening clearances to allow an estimated $100 million worth of cocaine shipments to pass through security.
The charges point to an insider threat, a congressional source told Fox News, saying the suspects could have smuggled explosives instead of drugs.
The smuggling ring allegedly began in 1998 when the suspects transported up to 15 kilograms of cocaine through Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan by using as many as five smugglers on each flight.
Police have identified defendant Miguel Angel Perez-Rodriguez as the suspected cocaine supplier, and baggage handler Javier Ortiz as the man who took the cocaine-filled bags through security and placed them on their respective flights by paying TSA employees for their roles.
The suspects in the case face 10 years to life in prison if convicted.