Three workers at Atlanta's airport were charged with conspiring to smuggle more than $500,000 worth of heroin and methamphetamine into the US on a Delta Air Lines flight from Mexico City. According to Washington Post, the smuggling plot was foiled when the baggage ended up on an unclaimed luggage carousel, and another employee discovered the bag there, full of drugs. Prosecutors claim the three that were charged sent frantic coded text messages to each other trying to find the bag before they realized it was too late.
Two of the men have been arrested, and one remains a fugitive. US Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, "We will continue to work with airline security teams and our law enforcement partners to prosecute those who attempt to use their airport credentials and access as a means to engage in illegal drug trafficking."
Federal investigators quickly determined the bag, left on the unclaimed carousel loaded with drugs, was probably smuggled by corrupt employees. A large hand-written orange sticker on the outside of the bag lead investigators to this conclusion. When they tracked down the supervisor for Delta luggage for that shift, they found incriminating text messages, one expressing the shock of being unable to find the "ALA bag." "ALA" is lingo for baggage handler. The second man arrested, who served as a lookout, also had incriminating text messages. Both of these men shared texts with the same individual, who was also charged but is still on the run.
- Item Tag: airport employees and drug trafficking, crystal meth, Delta Air Lines, drug trafficking, heroin