Excellence, TSA style, is in the news again, this time for its agents’ merry participation in a cocaine smuggling ring that has been running through Puerto Rico since prior to the misbegotten agency’s existence.
Not surprisingly, the smugglers found that TSA employees, far from threatening the criminal enterprise, were delighted to join in.
A dozen airport and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a massive cocaine smuggling operation in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
The defendants are accused of helping smuggle approximately 20 tons of cocaine through Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport over the course of 18 years, from 1998 to 2016.
The operation allegedly involved employees smuggling suitcases through TSA checkpoints at the airport and onto flights, with as many as five mules on some flights and with each mule checking two suitcases in some cases.
Six current and former TSA screening officers have been indicted in the case for their alleged role in smuggling cocaine through X-ray machines and onto airplanes without detection.
Since named TSA employees have been indicted, you know that this wasn’t a TSA internal investigation. TSA never prosecutes its own, no matter how heinous the crime, under the flimsy excuse that to punish insiders would risk exposing “critical security procedures.” So when you see a TSA goon standing in the dock, it’s not just to check that the defendant’s place is level (which you can tell, because the TSAnik drools evenly from both sides of his mouth). It’s because some other agency caught him.
An Airport Aviation Services worker, who was a baggage handler and ramp employee, is charged with paying TSA employees to clear the suitcases stuffed with cocaine; taking the suitcases to their designated flights; and giving a drug trafficking organization member the “all clear” for mules to board the plane.
“These individuals were involved in a conspiracy to traffic massive quantities of illegal narcotics to the continental United States,” Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, said in a statement. “These arrests demonstrate the success of the AirTAT initiative, which has successfully allocated a dedicated group of state and federal law enforcement officers, whose mission is to ensure that our airports are not used in the drug traffickers’ illicit businesses.”
Now TSA is claiming that they uncovered this inside ring themselves, but we know from the charging of TSA criminals that such was not the case. So who was it, really?
The Drug Enforcement Agency is in charge of the investigation, in collaboration with the FBI, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Marshals and Puerto Rican police.
Three Federal agencies and the PR cops made it too big for TSA’s usual under-the-rug treatment.
The TSA has dealt with a number of high-profile security lapses at airports in recent years, including a gun-smuggling operation uncovered at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in 2015.
So, at least in this case, we should be glad that they were just smuggling drugs, and not guns. Or were they? Puerto Rico still clings to pre-Heller gun control, and yet has a high level of armed crime. Where are the guns coming from?
If the answer is, “through a TSA smuggling ring,” we know that the one agency that will never expose the ring is the TSA itself.
Once again, we have evidence of the Fundamental Law of TSA: No one good, decent, honest, competent, moral, ethical or intelligent has ever been employed at TSA in any capacity whatsoever.