Baggage handlers accused of smuggling drugs

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SAN DIEGO — Four baggage handlers at San Diego International Airport were indicted on charges they conspired to smuggle cocaine and methamphetamine onto an aircraft by exploiting their ability to pass unchecked through security screening areas, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Monday.

plane-lands-at-lindbergh-fieldThe indictment alleges that Felix Samuel Garcia, Paulo Mendez Perez and Saul Bojorquez, all current or former employees of Delta Global Services — which provides ground services for several airlines — flashed badges numerous times and walked through checkpoints with drugs in backpacks. Brian Alberto Gonzalez, also a DGS employee, allegedly worked as a courier.

“This was a brazen scheme to smuggle drugs right under the noses of airport security officials,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “We aren’t going to let dangerous drugs fly in unchecked bags in the overhead bins of commercial aircraft.”

According to the indictment, the drug-toting baggage handlers connected with drug couriers during clandestine meetings in airport restrooms in the secured area of Terminal 2, where they would wait for adjoining stalls to become available and once inside, would hand off the cocaine and methamphetamine under the stalls’ divider.

After the bathroom rendezvous, the couriers would board flights and proceed to destinations such as New York City, Nashville, Detroit, Baltimore and Hawaii, where they were met by other members of the drug trafficking organization, according to the indictment.

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