Texas airport workers used flights to distribute meth to NC

Authorities bust drug smuggling ring, operation flew into CLT airport

Federal authorities say 10 people who worked at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport used commercial flights to distribute methamphetamine that was flown to Arizona, New Jersey and elsewhere.

The suspects agreed to prices between $1,500 and $2,000 to move the fake methamphetamine in kilogram amounts, according to the indictments.

The first shipment occurred on September 30, 2016, when eight kilograms were sent to a Newark, New Jersey airport on American Airlines Flight 0952.

The people involved believed they were smuggling more than 140 pounds of meth to cities around the country including Newark, Charlotte and Phoenix.

Law enforcement officers were at the receiving end of each flight to collect the fake contraband.

Seven of the workers were employed by Envoy Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines.

A tenth suspect had not been arrested as of Tuesday.

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The suspects used their positions of employment with companies at DFW Airport to bypass security measures and in return, they accepted payment for the transportation and delivery of the counterfeit drugs, according to the release. They believed they were transporting meth and didn't know they were working with undercover agents.

Envoy said Tuesday it is eager to help as the investigation continues.

No actual drugs, firearms or explosives were smuggled onto flights as part of the investigation, authorities confirmed.

The indictments also allege at least one of the defendant's claims that he and his co-conspirators could smuggle anything onto commercial planes, including guns and explosives. In 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested four D/FW workers after they promised they could get cocaine from the airport to other destinations around the country.

The indictment charges Nelson Pabon, 47, Jean Loui Vargas-Malave, 28, Juan Camacho Melendez, aka "Kendo Kaponi" and "Anthony", 22, Ruben Benitez-Matienzo, 45, Jose Luis Gaston-Rolon, 24, Joshua Israel Pagan Zapata, 21, Domingo Villafane Martinez, III, 30, Luis Javier Collazo Rosado, aka "Luisito", 21, Michael LNU, and Cristian David Cruz-Rodriguez, 23.

They're expected to appear before a judge later this week, according to the Department of Justice. This case shows the lengths that these individuals would go to.

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