Nine employees of Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport were arrested on Tuesday by agents of the F.B.I. and charged with drug smuggling. The employees worked for Envoy Air and Spirit Airlines, with the possible exception of a tenth member of the ring whose full name and employer are being withheld while he is at large.
The smuggling ring had been under investigation since October, 2016, and had “distributed a substance that the workers believed to be methamphetamine to multiple cities, including Newark, Charlotte and Phoenix on commercial flights.” (ABC)
What triggered the arrests now was the possibility of escalation from drugs to other things. From CBS:
At least one defendant had said he would transport firearms on commercial flights but it’s not clear if that actually was done.
But prosecutors say they ended the conspiracy when one of the employees claimed they could smuggle more items.
“He and his co-conspirators could smuggle anything onto planes, including guns,” said Cox. “He also discussed the ability and willingness to smuggle plastic explosives onto the planes.”
This is not the first time D/FW workers have been arrested for drug smuggling. In 2015, a large organization was discovered and arrested. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) In that instance, four of the criminals were workers at D/FW and used their positions to distribute drugs. The size of the ring in this instance, and the alleged willingness to include high explosives and other weaponry in their smuggling operation, serves as a sobering reminder of the tasks in front of law enforcement.