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NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Three federal Transportation Security Administration officers and two other law enforcement officers were arrested on charges of accepting cash or gift cards in exchange for permitting prescription drug dealers to move tens of thousands of highly addictive painkiller pills and cash proceeds from the illegal sales through airports and highways.
The TSA officers, based at airports in Florida and New York, and a Westchester County, N.Y., police officer allowed the oxycodone through airport security, authorities said Tuesday. A Florida state trooper accepted cash and checks for ensuring dealers could freely transport the pills and cash proceeds by car through that state, prosecutors said.
"Prescription pain medication abuse is rampant in New England and this trafficking group allegedly preyed upon the addictions of individuals to line their pockets, while the law enforcement officers are alleged to have sold their badges and abused their authority to further the illegal activities of the organization," said Steven W. Derr, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England.
The TSA officers, Christopher Allen, 45, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; John Best, 30, of Port St. Lucie, Fla.; and Brigitte Jones, 48, of the Bronx, N.Y., were charged with conspiring to distribute and possessing with intent to distribute oxycodone. The New York police officer, Michael Brady, 36, and the Florida trooper, Justin Kolves, 28, face the same charges; their hometowns were not released.
Kolves also flew from Florida to New York to provide protection for what he thought was an oxycodone sale in Connecticut, authorities said.
The five, who were among 20 people arrested in connection with the alleged scheme, face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
"In these times, no one needs to be reminded about how dangerous it is when officers who have sworn to uphold the law accept money to 'look the other way,'" said U.S. Attorney David Fein.
Telephone messages were left with their attorneys or at possible home numbers. Best's attorney, Matt Collins, said he had no immediate comment.
Jones' attorney, Bill Bloss, said he anticipated Jones would plead not guilty. He said he was just appointed and has not seen the evidence yet.
The arrests stem from a DEA investigation dubbed "Operation Blue Coast."
Authorities received information that someone possessing a large quantity of oxycodone was traveling from Palm Beach, Fla. to Stamford, Conn. to sell thousands of oxycodone pills. On April 8, the DEA arrested the man, who had about 6,000 oxycodone pills, in a Stamford hotel, prosecutors said.
The arrested man revealed that over the past year he had regularly purchased thousands of oxycodone pills from suppliers in Florida, transported the oxycodone to Connecticut by plane or car and sold the pills to Connecticut-based drug dealers. He flew from Florida to New York more than 65 times, according to an affidavit.
The man allegedly told authorities he provided cash and gift cards to certain TSA officers who screened passengers and luggage at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y, to ensure he could pass through airport security while he carried oxycodone pills. He also said he paid Brady more than $20,000 to ensure he could carry large quantities of cash from the sales through airport security.
The man said he provided cash to Kolves, the Florida trooper, and gave checks to the trooper's fiancee, in exchange for the trooper's assurance that individuals who transported drugs or cash would not be detained by law enforcement while driving through central Florida.
TSA issued a statement last Tuesday afternoon:
TSA works closely with law enforcement to aggressively investigate all allegations of misconduct and will take appropriate action as necessary.
Originally posted by Noviz
There is one place where I don't mind really tight policing and even racial profiling and that is airports. It is a controversial thing but when was the last time a white middle-class male or female blew up a plane?
I don't know about you guys but if I'm on a plane I want to know I'm safe.
Originally posted by TheLoony
reply to post by WarminIndy
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, or some such.
Would you want a cop in California investigating a crime in New York? No. It's not their business.
So why should the U.S. police the world, because we're "better"?
No, it is NOT our business. Bad things happen in the world, get over it. You can't fix everything and one country is NOT supposed to be the police of the world by their own consent and no one elses.
Crikey, like we don't have enough problems at home so we have to go create more.
Originally posted by WarminIndy
... But we have to understand what was going on then as we have to understand what is going on now.
But what also bothers me is this, why are we supposed to sit back and watch while little girls are beheaded for being raped? In this modern world, we have to sit back in the age of political tolerance while the weaker are continually killed because of idealism.
And those same people who practice beheadings of little girls, commit genocide, and buy rockets instead of food want to come here and do it to us. So we listen as people say "We are killing them". Those same people teach their children and encourage them to kill Jews because they are Jews. Have you ever seen those shows where little children yell loudly about their desire to kill them? Here, our children are lulled by Disney and Spongebob Squarepants.
I want to ask this, if bringing war to grown men will save little girls, is that ok? If it is not ok, then little girls have no protection whatsoever in this modern world. If we are a modern society that believes in protection of children and the weaker, then we should practice it.
Let's not show it on the news, let's not talk about it, let's not listen when these innocent people cry out for help. No, let's say it is for oil. Let's say it is for political posturing. Let's say it is anything but what it is. Let's deny, deny, deny that this stuff is going on.
If we are the biggest and most powerful nation on earth, should we be willing to sit back and say nothing while another little girl is killed and another little boy is given a gun to shoot Jews with?
So what should we do? I am ashamed to be in a country that allows for freedom of speech and religion but says it is allowed to happen elsewhere.
A proposal prohibiting defense contractor involvement in human trafficking for forced prostitution and labor was drafted by the Pentagon last summer, but five defense lobbying groups oppose key provisions...
... they believe that implementing key portions of it overseas is unrealistic. They represent thousands of firms, including some of the industry's biggest names, such as DynCorp International and Halliburton subsidiary KBR, both of which have been linked to trafficking-related concerns.
Lining up on the opposite side of the defense industry are some human-trafficking experts who say significant aspects of the Pentagon's proposed policy might actually do more harm than good unless they're changed. These experts have told the Pentagon that the policy would merely formalize practices that have allowed contractors working overseas to escape punishment for involvement in trafficking, the records show.
Each player successively whispers what that player believes he or she heard to the next. The last player announces the statement to the entire group. Errors typically accumulate in the retellings, so the statement announced by the last player differs significantly, and often amusingly, from the one uttered by the first. Some players also deliberately alter what is being said in order to guarantee a changed message by the end of it.
Originally posted by WarminIndy
reply to post by pianopraze
Actually I do not own a tv, so I am not influenced minute by minute by the media. If those people are running slave camps they need to be stopped and held accountable for it.
I never said they want to kill us here. And the war with Islam is nothing new for America, seeing as how we were in the Barbary Coast wars during the presidency of John Adams when Thomas Jefferson as an ambassador went to London to negotiate the ransom of Americans held by the Barbary pirates. This was war declared on America by those Islamic terrorists. And when people go back all the way to the Crusades, they tend to forget they were fighting actual armies with actual generals such as Suleiman the Magnificent. It was Suleiman who invaded Jerusalem to begin with. They do fight with aggression but then don't understand why other aggressive people attack back.
Yes, corporate interest does fund the war. That is how all wars are fought. Even they have corporations on their side funding them.Do you really think that Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, the PLO, are all just poor political parties? Where do they get their money? And I seem to recall that the US did indeed fund the Iranians during the Iraq/Iran war. I was alive during that time. We did fund Afghanistan and Sylvester Stallone took up their cause in a movie. At the same time, the Taliban was subjugating women. This "war with the west" is not new and it is not a bunch of poor people who fight these wars. Sure, they recruit young men from poor families to fight by offering them food. Tell me why the King of Saudi Arabia lives in an opulent palace while his own imams teach that such opulance is a sin to the average Muslim? He gets his money from somewhere. And weapons cost money. Where do they get the money in such poverty stricken nations?
Someone over there is making a lot of money to fund this, do you suppose they have corporations that fund them? Yes they do. In fact, who owns Harrods of London? Who actually owns the BBC? Muslims. Their rich and powerful are pulling just as many strings. And their media is telling as many lies. So this war, what is it really about? Oil? Which their corporations are making bunches of money from anyway.