Federal agents arrested a dozen baggage handlers and airline employees in Detroit today for being ever so helpful to two drug rings, one operating from Jamaica and one from right here in Houston.
Coke and weed were transported via baggage on regularly scheduled flights to the Detroit airport, the feds said. Houston's contribution took off from Bush.
According to the Detroit News:
[T]he ring relied on a third man, LaDale Callaway, who worked as a baggage handler at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. Callaway would put bags packed with drugs onto planes bound for Detroit.
[Colleagues] would unload the bags in Detroit and leave using the employee exit. Sometimes, the men put the luggage on domestic baggage conveyer belts to avoid close inspection.
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"Today's arrests and charges close a major vulnerability at the airport," said ICE Director John Morton. "We can't have people working in and around aircraft exploiting their positions for criminal ends. Airplanes are for lawful travel, not drug dealing. For those on the inside thinking about abusing their access to planes for money, think again. We are watching. We are looking. Whether it takes months or years, whether the trail leads to Detroit, Houston, or Montego Bay, we will investigate you, we will prosecute you, we will put you in jail."
The feds called their investigation "Operation Excess Baggage," which is nice.
The official release gives these names as people arrested for the Detroit/Houston ring:
The Houston/Detroit trafficking operation are being charged with possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute and conspiracy:
* Clifford Skinner, 38;
* Kelvin Atwater, 40;
* LaDale Callaway, 39; and
* Yohanis Watson, 37.