TSA Screener Looked Other Way For $30 Million Of Cocaine
Do you ever wonder how so much illicit contraband gets through airports? Here’s one way.
A former Transportation Security Administration airport screener in Puerto Rico has been indicted for his part in smuggling drugs through SJU over several years.
Jose Cruz-Lopez has been charged with allowing bags filled with cocaine to pass through the X-ray machines undetected.
According to a charging document, Cruz-Lopez was assisted in part by another man, Edwin Francisco Castro, a ground services employee who was a supervisor in the wheelchair section at the airport.
From 2008 through 2016, the men smuggled about 1,500 kilograms of cocaine through the airport. The street value of the drugs is estimated at a total of about $30 million.
U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez said about 8-12 kg of cocaine was contained in a bag on each occasion. The indictment says Cruz-Lopez allegedly pocketed about $215,000 for allowing the consignments to pass through screening undetected.
It may have been good while it lasted, but the two men now face a minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison if convicted.
Rodriguez said the investigation, which was a joint operation with the Drug Enforcement Administration, US Immigration and Customs, Homeland Security Investigations and the Puerto Rico Police Department, is still ongoing and more arrests are possible.