Drug Trafficking Rings Exploited Commercial Airlines
Details of Thursdays’ massive drug bust reveal an ongoing game of whack-a-mole between the DEA and drug smugglers working the commercial airline systems.
In this recent bust the DEA and FBI, in concert with Puerto Rican and local authorities, disabled two rings trafficking cocaine into the U.S., primarily through Puerto Rico Muniz International Airport.
ABC reports that one ring was allegedly led by Maribel Rodriguez Fragoso, known as La Flaca or “the Skinny Woman.” Between 2010 and 2012, La Flaca’s ring used airport baggage handlers to load cocaine-stuffed luggage onto commercial flights headed to cities all along the East Coast.
The second ring’s nine year run ended with the 2009 DEA operation Heavy Cargo. Allegedly led by American Airlines worker Wilfredo Rodriguez Rosado, fellow American Airlines employees smuggled more than 9000 kilos of cocaine into the U.S. mainland, says ABC. Heavy Cargo saw 23 people, including 9 American Airlines employees, indicted. Rodriguez and 21 others pleaded guilty.
Wednesday the DEA announced 20 more indictments related to Rosado’s American Airlines ring.
DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Caribbean Division, Pedro Janer said of the repeated and ongoing incidences of drug smugglers exploiting holes in airport security, the “DEA will continue to dismantle these organizations that think they can blatantly use legitimate entities to carry out their smuggling operations.”
This weeks’ 45 indictments and 36 arrests are a good start.
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