Authorities say the charges stem from an undercover FBI investigation in which the individuals acquired fake methamphetamine and used their positions with airlines at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to bypass security measures and get the counterfeit drugs onto airplanes in exchange for payment.
The fake drugs then made their way to cities including Newark, Phoenix, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Officials say the individuals managed to help transport 66 kilograms of the counterfeit narcotics.
“We have zero tolerance for employees who seek to undermine and evade the security protocols at airports,” U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said. “Smugglers are constantly seeking new ways to move illegal contraband across the country and we will do whatever necessary to thwart these criminals at every turn.
During the course of the investigation, one of the suspects allegedly discussed being able to transport guns and C-4 through commercial airlines.
The Dallas Police Department, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Police Department assisted the FBI with the investigation.
The following individuals were each charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a schedule II controlled substance:
Nelson Pabon, 47
Jean Loui Vargas-Malave, 28
Juan Camacho Melendez, 22
Ruben Benitez-Matienzo, 45
Jose Luis Gaston-Rolon, 24
Joshua Israel Pagan Zapata, 21
Domingo Villafane Martinez, III, 30
Luis Javier Collazo Rosado, 21
Cristian David Cruz-Rodriguez, 23