CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte was one of at least three U.S. airports listed as a destination for the funneling of 66 kilos of fake methamphetamine out of Texas, according to a release from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The FBI said a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging ten people for their alleged role in the smuggling operation.
Investigators say that around August 2016, the ten people "acquired a substance that they believed to be methamphetamine" and "arranged for the transportation and delivery of the counterfeit drugs" through the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport on commercial flights.
The accused used their employment positions at DFW to bypass security, officials said.
According to the release, The counterfeit drugs were transported to various locations throughout the U.S., including Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, and Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona.
Nelson Pabon, 47, Jean Loui Vargas-Malave, 28, Juan Camacho Melendez, 22, Ruben Benitez-Matienzo, 45, Jose Luis Gaston-Rolon, 24, Joshua Israel Pagan Zapata, 21, Domingo Villafane Martinez, III, 30, Luis Javier Collazo Rosado, 21, Michael LNU, and Cristian David Cruz-Rodriguez, 23, are all charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a schedule II controlled substance.
"The FBI would like to thank its local and federal partners that assisted in this investigation. This joint operation allowed us to successfully arrest ten individuals who used their positions of employment and access to compromise an aspect of airport security," said Eric K. Jackson, FBI Dallas Special Agent-In-Charge. "We at the FBI will continue to work diligently with our partners to ensure we aggressively investigate anyone who poses a threat to or attempts to compromise any aspect of U.S. aviation security."