The DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) indicted 11 airport employees in San Diego on March 18, 2014; the charges ranging from drug smuggler to drug courier. Airline baggage handlers seemingly go through security unchecked, and the employees in question were taking advantage of this loophole. Three of the employees – Felix Garcia, Paulo Perez and Saul Bojorquez – were baggage handlers working for Delta Global Staffing. Also charged were eight other employees, accused of being transporters, suppliers and distributors.
In the Federal Grand Jury indictment, it was noted that those involved had created a process to successfully distribute drugs to cities around the country – including Hawaii, where the street price of methamphetamine is upwards of twenty-five grand a pound. The three baggage handlers were caught smuggling in cocaine and methamphetamine through their personal backpacks. The baggage handlers would show their employee identification to the security personnel, waiving security procedures and allowing them to go through unchecked. They would then rendezvous with the couriers in order to hand over the product and ensure its ability to get on the aircraft and be taken to its final destination. In the indictment, it was cited that the baggage handlers would meet the couriers in a designated airport bathroom and give them the drugs underneath the stall dividers. Once the drugs made it to their designated city, they were then handed off to local traffickers.
The investigation by the DEA leading to the indictment lasted about a year, and during the process law enforcement confiscated 17 pounds of cocaine, 18 pounds of methamphetamine and over $100,000 in cash. All of those in question were arrested the week of March 11, 2014, and remain in police custody. One indicted employee has yet to be located, and the age range of the accused ranges from early 20’s to late 40’s.
“4 Airport Baggage Handlers Accused of Drug Smuggling” – NBC San Diego, March 18, 2014