Four JetBlue employees and one Delta Air Lines employee have been arrested on charges of using their airport security clearances to smuggle hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash past security checkpoints at Logan International Airport, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
JetBlue ground crew members Rupert Crossley, 25, of Lynn; Alvin Leacock, 27, of Hollywood, Fla.; Eric Vick, 24, of Boston; and Anthony Trotman, 24, of Boston, are facing charges, along with Delta Air Lines customer service ramp agent Dino Dunkley, 31, of Boston, prosecutors said.
In a sworn statement in support of a criminal complaint against the men, a federal agent said the suspects had been caught in a sting operation.
A witness cooperating with the government told the defendants that the witness's drug trafficking organisation needed help smuggling cash from drug proceeds past Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, so that the witness could fly with the cash from Boston to Florida, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit charged that the defendants smuggled US$417,000 (A$447,614) in cash, using their clearances to get through locked security doors. They allegedly brought the cash from areas such as curbside dropoff and pickup or public restrooms to secure areas of the airport, such as the departure gates.
Vick and Dunkley went a step further, smuggling the cash aboard commercial fights from Boston to Florida, the affidavit alleged. The cash smuggling allegedly took place nine times.
The affidavit also contained other details, including an alleged statement by Vick that he would be willing to smuggle a gun into the secure area, and alleged statements by Dunkley and Leacock that they had done similar things before the sting operation was executed.
The investigation ran from August 2012 to February 2014.
''Security at our nation's airports is paramount, and the conduct alleged today is alarming,'' US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said in a statement. ''Thanks to the hard work and commitment of the federal and state investigators and airline security personnel, a potentially dangerous breach in security was identified.''
Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge of the Boston office of Homeland Security Investigations, an arm of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement: ''Today marks the culmination of a very detailed investigation. I want to thank all of the security officials within Massport, TSA, the Massachusetts State Police, and the affected airlines.''
The defendants face charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the United States, the affidavit said. If convicted, each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison, prosecutors said.
The New York Times