BOSTON (AP) — Five airline employees were charged Thursday in a sting operation with using their security clearances to secretly smuggle more than $400,000 in cash through Boston's Logan Airport.
Four ground operations crew members of JetBlue Airways and one Delta Air Lines customer service ramp agent were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the Transportation Security Administration.
Federal prosecutors said they used their security clearance to circumvent TSA checkpoints and smuggle cash to secure areas such as passenger departure gates. In return, each allegedly received a payment from a cooperating witness who posed as a member of a drug-trafficking organization while working with law enforcement.
"Security at our nation's airports is paramount and the conduct alleged today is alarming," said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz. "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."
Prosecutors identified the JetBlue employees as: Rupert Crossley, 25, of Lynn; Alvin Leacock, 27, of Hollywood, Florida; Eric Vick, 24, of Boston; and Anthony Trotman, 24, of Boston. The Delta employee was identified as Dino Dunkley, 31, of Boston. Vick and Dunkley are accused of taking the smuggled cash aboard airline flights from Boston to Florida.
The men were due to appear in U.S. District Court late Thursday. If convicted, each faces up to 20 years in prison. Messages left for their lawyers were not immediately returned.
In an affidavit used to obtain a criminal complaint, Stephen Valentine, a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations, said the men took cash they believed was drug proceeds past TSA officials and security check points. Prosecutors said nine money-laundering transactions were completed involving approximately $417,000 in cash.
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