The Department of Justice announced Monday that 12 former and current TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) employees were indicted for smuggling 20 tons, or $100 million worth of cocaine out of Puerto Rico over the course of an 18-year operation. This is not the first time TSA agents have been caught running drugs or breaking other laws.
According to a DOJ press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico:
“During the course of the conspiracy, the defendants smuggled suitcases, each containing at least 8 to 15 kilograms of cocaine, through the TSA security system at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (LMMIA). Sometimes as many as five mules were used on each flight, with each mule checking-in up to two suitcases. From 1998 through 2016, the defendants helped smuggle approximately 20 tons of cocaine through LMMIA.”
How DARE they cut in on the CIA’s action!!!!
Though initial reports indicated the operation spanned from 2008 to 2016 and moved 1,500 kilograms of cocaine, the ongoing investigation apparently unearthed an additional ten years of misconduct (considering the TSA has only existed since 2001, Anti-Media has contacted the DOJ for clarification on how the operation worked from 1998-2001 and will update this article should they respond).
The Puerto Rican TSA agents were indicted by a federal grand jury on February 8 and charged with “conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine,” according to Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.
According to DOJ press release, six current and former employees, José Cruz-López, Luis Vázquez-Acevedo, Keila Carrasquillo, Carlos Rafael Adorno-Hiraldo, Antonio Vargas-Saavedra, and Daniel Cruz-Echevarría worked as TSA screeners who monitored both checked and carry-on luggage. They “allegedly smuggled multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine while employed as TSA Officers at the San Juan airport
Luis Vázquez-Acevedo and two other defendants acted as facilitators between TSA employees and the cocaine supplier, an airport security employee. Another defendant, Javier Ortiz, worked for the Airport Aviation Services as a baggage handler and ramp employee. He would “pick up suitcases he know contained cocaine from the mules at the airline check in counter” and place the suitcases into X-ray machines manned by TSA agents involved in the scheme. He would then take the suitcases to their designated flights, “making sure no narcotic K-9 unit or law enforcement personnel were present when the suitcase went from the checkpoint to the airplane.” Ortiz would then place a call to the drug trafficking organization, and mules would then board the plane.
The investigation into this drug trafficking operation was initiated by the TSA and the DEA. The two agencies are also collaborating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Marshals, and the police of Puerto Rico.