May 3, 2012 at 1:11 PM ET
A federal grand jury indicted three U.S. airport workers Tuesday on charges of conspiracy to smuggle methamphetamine and heroin into the country.
Carlos R. Springer, 41, of Hampton, Ga., Kelvin Rondon, 27, and Luis Marroquin, 35, both of Atlanta, are accused of conspiring to bring more than $500,000 worth of drugs into the U.S. on a Delta Air Lines flight from Mexico earlier this year.
On January 13, a Delta Air Lines agent at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport found an unclaimed piece of baggage at the luggage carousel corresponding to Delta Flight 364, which had arrived from Mexico City, according to a statement released by the United States Attorney's Office Northern District of Georgia.
Customs and Border Protection agents discovered packages of methamphetamine and heroin inside the bag. An investigation found that Springer and Marroquin had sent "coded incriminating text messages" around the time of the flight's arrival.
The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000,000.
“We will continue to work with airline security teams and our law enforcement partners to prosecute those who attempt to use their airport credentials and access as a means to engage in illegal drug trafficking,” United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said.
Last week, two former and two current Transportation Security Administration employees were indicted following a bribery scheme in which they permitted cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana to pass through the security checkpoint at LAX.
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