Flight attendants arrested for allegedly smuggling money through JFK Airport in New York

Josh Einiger Image
Thursday, May 9, 2024
Flight attendants arrested for smuggling drug money through JFK
Four flight attendents were arrested after being accused of smuggling drug money from the Dominican Republic.

NEW YORK -- Four flight attendants are accused of smuggling $8 million worth of drug money past the TSA onto flights and out of the country.

Federal prosecutors say the four New York-based flight attendants used their lofty positions to run millions in drug money to the Dominican Republic as they worked their flights.

"This investigation has exposed critical vulnerabilities in the airline security industry and has illuminated methods that narcotics traffickers are utilizing," said a federal official.

The federal indictment alleges the flight crew members, at least two of whom work for Delta Airlines, smuggled a total of $8 million through so-called "known crewmember security lanes" at JFK Airport, which allowed them to bypass TSA security.

The complaint calls it "an international narcotics trafficking, and money laundering operation involved in trafficking fentanyl by using flight attendants at major airlines to smuggle bulk quantities of cash."

Investigators say a member of the ring recruited the flight attendants and then, when busted, rolled over on them, eventually ensnaring them in a sting while the feds were watching.

Delta on Wednesday said it had suspended two employees pending an internal review.

The airline says it "has cooperated fully with law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to do so."

Delta is one of three airlines that fly from New York to the Dominican Republic, but it isn't clear where the other two suspects work.

All of them are charged with felonies and could face up to a decade in federal prison.