Feds Say U.S Airways Baggage Handler Nabbed In Philly Cocaine Sm - Fox 2 News Headlines

Feds Say U.S Airways Baggage Handler Nabbed In Philly Cocaine Smuggling Operation

Posted: Updated:
PHILADELPHIA -


Federal authorities say a crew of baggage handlers at Philadelphia International Airport were moving more than luggage at the international terminal, they were moving bags loaded with dozens of kilos of cocaine, until the federal authorities came calling.

"It's probably about one point seven million dollars wholesale. On the street probably more?  oh much more," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen McCartney after a hearing in federal court Friday afternoon.

A federal indictment charges that more than 150 pounds of coke was transported from the Dominican Republic to Philadelphia via US Airways flights from Santo Domingo. A US Airways baggage handler, Jose Rodriguez of Sharon Hill, and Edwin Fernandez of Philadelphia recruited other handlers to make the scheme work.

"They were basically non descript Nike duffel bags, new, unused ,which was the way to tell which bag you were looking for if you were the one off loading from the plane," McCartney explained.

According to the indictment, Rodriguez would have handlers divert luggage from the international terminal over to a domestic baggage carousel, and he would payoff the employees between five and ten thousand dollars.

"Then you can basically just walk out of the airport with them rather than going through customs and having them inspected," McCartney added.

The feds intercepted text messages where Rodriguez told his fellow smugglers there was "bookoo money out there." He used terms like "work" or "party" to describe when the drug shipments were coming in. The handlers who moved the coke got a big pay day too.

"We have evidence to show he paid one employee $25,000," McCartney said.  

Investigators say a Dominican Republic drug cartel supplied the cocaine and arranged to have the drugs smuggled past security at the airport in Santo Domingo. That part of the operation is still being investigated

Over 70 kilos of cocaine were seized, that's over 150 pounds. Drug experts tell Fox 29 the cocaine that was seized could be worth almost $7 million on the street.

US Airways officials say they are concerned about the allegations and such behavior would not be tolerated. They says the airline is cooperating fully with the investigation.

Rodriguez and Fernandez were ordered held without bail Friday afternoon pending a bail hearing next Wednesday. An attorney for Rodriguez refused to comment after the hearing. Rodriguez pleaded not guilty to the charges.

  • Dave SchratwieserMore>>

  • Police: Employee Allegedly Sold Crack At Main Line McDonald’s

    Police: Employee Allegedly Sold Crack At Main Line McDonald’s

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 5:29 PM EDT2014-07-23 21:29:07 GMT
    Officers arrested 29-year-old Allen Trammell, an employee at McDonald’s, for drug possession and selling drugs while at work.
    Officers arrested 29-year-old Allen Trammell, an employee at McDonald’s, for drug possession and selling drugs while at work.
  • Suspect Charged In Upper Merion Home Invasion

    Suspect Charged In Upper Merion Home Invasion

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 4:09 PM EDT2014-07-23 20:09:04 GMT
    Keith Darrin Morrison has been charged in connection with the home invasion, robbery (Upper Merion Police Department)Keith Darrin Morrison has been charged in connection with the home invasion, robbery (Upper Merion Police Department)

    A home invasion suspect in Montgomery County is accused of terrorizing two homeowners. Now more police departments want to know if he's connected to other cases.

    A home invasion suspect in Montgomery County is accused of terrorizing two homeowners. Now more police departments want to know if he's connected to other cases.

  • Police: Makeshift Drug Lab Found In Northeast Philly Apartment

    Police: Makeshift Drug Lab Found In Northeast Philly Apartment

    Monday, July 14 2014 5:14 PM EDT2014-07-14 21:14:24 GMT

    Police say they discovered what appears to be a drug lab inside a Northeast Philadelphia home Monday morning. FOX 29's Dave Schratwieser reports investigators were called out after the landlord found some chemicals inside.

    Police say they discovered what appears to be a drug lab inside a Northeast Philadelphia home Monday morning. FOX 29's Dave Schratwieser reports investigators were called out after the landlord found some chemicals inside.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • 1 Dead, Multiple People Injured From Shooting At Darby Hospital

    1 Dead, Multiple People Injured From Shooting At Darby Hospital

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:43 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:43:04 GMT
    We are following breaking news in Darby, PA where one person is dead and multiple people are injured from a shooting at a Wellness Center.
    We are following breaking news in Darby, PA where one person is dead and multiple people are injured from a shooting at a Wellness Center.
  • Arrest Made In Fatal Camden Hit And Run

    Arrest Made In Fatal Camden Hit And Run

    Thursday, July 24 2014 11:45 AM EDT2014-07-24 15:45:20 GMT
    Surveillance Footage: Camden County Police DepartmentSurveillance Footage: Camden County Police Department

    According to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office Facebook page an arrest has been made in the fatal hit and Run that took place Saturday night.

    According to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office Facebook page an arrest has been made in the fatal hit and Run that took place Saturday night.

  • CLOUDS TO SUN THURSDAY

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:52 AM EDT2014-07-24 13:52:31 GMT

    Thursday, early clouds will lead to afternoon sun as highs today remain in the mid 80s. 

    Thursday: H-85 L-72

    Thursday, early clouds will lead to afternoon sun as highs remain in the mid 80s. We stay dry Friday with lower humidity and sunny skies. We warm back up near 90 for the weekend with unsettled weather returning by late Saturday.

    Thursday: H-85 L-72

    Friday: H-86 L-65

    This Weekend

    Saturday: H-88 L-64

    Sunday: H-91 L-73

Powered by WorldNow

WJBK-TV | Fox 2
16550 West Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075

Main Station: (248) 557-2000
Newsroom: (248) 552-5103

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices