Over the course of an nearly two-year investigation, the employees, seven of whom worked for American Airlines subsidiary Envoy, allegedly shipped 66 pounds of fake meth from D/FW to airports in Charlotte, North Carolina; Phoenix; and Newark, New Jersey.
One of the defendants told undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agents that he could smuggle C-4 explosives on board a plane for $5,500 forcing agents to end the sting operation and make arrests, according to court filings.
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. One had not yet been apprehended.
All were arrested Monday and indicted on a count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Texas' Northern District said in a statement Tuesday.More news: Turkish banker in Iran sanctions case faces sentencing
The people involved believed they were smuggling more than 140 pounds of meth to cities around the country including Newark, Charlotte and Phoenix. They were moving what they believed to be meth through the airport, charging undercover agents they believed to be drug smugglers between $1,500 and $2,000 per kilogram, according to federal authorities.
Two more worked for Spirit Airlines and one has yet to be arrested. Officials say the individuals managed to help transport 66 kilograms of the counterfeit narcotics.
Tuesday's bust marks the second time in three years that DFW airport employees have been arrested for allegedly transporting fake drugs out of the airport.
At least one worker had said he would transport firearms on commercial flights but it's not clear if that actually was done, authorities said.More news: Kent State University Has No Problem With Rifle-Toting Graduation Photos
The workers are accused of a plot to smuggle meth, explosives and guns onto planes.
The arrestees named in the indictment are: Envoy employees Nelson Pabon, Jean Loui Vargas-Malave, Juan Comancho Melendez, Ruben Benito-Matienzo, Joshua Israel Pagan Zapata, Domingo Villafane Martinez III and Luis Javier Collazo Rosado; Spirit employee Jose Luis Gaston-Rolon and former Spirit employee Christian David Cruz.
"This case shows the lengths that these individuals would go to - individuals who are trusted with insider knowledge of our commercial airport system - to just obtain cash", Cox said.More news: The Windsors Royal Wedding special proves a triumph with viewers