Two workers at Miami International Airport were among 45 people arrested by federal agents Wednesday who are suspected of smuggling cocaine aboard commercial flights for at least a decade, the Drug Enforcement Administration said.
Most of the arrests, 33, were made in Puerto Rico, along with the Miami arrests and another of a worker at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport, the DEA said.
Investigators said the smuggling went on for about 10 years and that the suspects helped move some 14 tons of cocaine and several pounds of heroin into cities including Miami, Orlando, Boston and New York.
Of the 45 people indicted, 18 work for Miami-based American Airlines.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for any employee when it comes to this type of activity. The actions of a few employees should not reflect negatively on the tens of thousands of ethical American Airlines employees who work hard to serve our customers each and every day,” airline spokesman Ed Martelle said in a statement Wednesday.
He said the airline always assists law enforcement in such cases.
Frequent flyer Christian Ayala questioned security at the airports.
”If they can smuggle drugs what else are they smuggling? The idea is to have a secure flight and everybody has to follow the rules,” he said.