These flight attendants just got busted trying to boost their salaries

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People used to like flight attendants, but too many are getting caught on video being ruder than some passengers.

But it’s not just bad service and bad attitudes that is a problem at 40,000 feet.

And this group of flight attendants just got busted for a very serious crime.

Drug smuggling ring

Four Delta Airlines flight attendants were arrested for involvement in a criminal scheme to smuggle millions of dollar’s worth of drug money between the United States and the Dominican Republic.

A trip to the airport for most travelers means the hassle of going through a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint by taking off their shoes and belt buckles.

But airline employees get to breeze through with little inspection.

And Justice Department officials claim that LAX security for flight attendants was how they were able to move millions of dollars in drug money.

New York City residents Charlie Hernandez, Sarah Valerio Pujols, Emmanuel Torres, and Jarol Fabio allegedly spent years using their “Known Crewmember (KCM)” status at John F. Kennedy Airport for the scheme.

KCM status allows airline crew members to go through an expedited TSA security line and bypass X-ray screenings, which permits them to carry large quantities of cash unnoticed with them on their international flights.

The flight attendants stand accused of moving $8 million in cash from drug trafficking to the Dominican Republic.

Pujols had been fired from a different airline in 2019 after she was caught with $60,000 in cash in her purse.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement, “As alleged, these flight attendants smuggled millions of dollars of drug money and law enforcement funds that they thought was drug money from the United States to the Dominican Republic over many years by abusing their privileges as airline employees.”

The flight attendants got a small percentage of the drug money from the shipments being brought in.

Safeguards needed

The four flight attendants were charged with operating an unlicensed money transmission business and violating airport security procedures.

The ability to exploit security privileges makes flight attendants ideal for smuggling cash and represents a vulnerability in the airline industry, according to Homeland Security officials.

Ivan Arvelo, Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge, said, “As alleged, the defendants knowingly smuggled large amounts of illicit money linked to the sale of narcotics, to include fentanyl, and took advantage of airport security checkpoints by using their trusted positions as flight attendants. . .This investigation has exposed critical vulnerabilities in the airline security industry and has illuminated methods that narcotics traffickers are utilizing.”

The flight attendants used code words, including using “lotion” to mean cash and called the drug dealers they worked for “los tigres,” Spanish for the tigers.

Now they are facing years in federal prison.

The whole ordeal sounds like the plot for a thriller set in the 1980s.

Using flight attendants to smuggle drugs and drug money is not new, but the feds still haven’t found a good way to stop the illicit business.

Informed American will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.