ATLANTA — Federal agents at the world’s busiest airport have officially seen it all.
Channel 2 Action News has learned that eight people are accused of smuggling as much as 375 kilos of cocaine from Costa Rica through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport over the past several years.
It all started last June when customs agents at the airport found 4 kilos hidden inside cans of fruit that seemed too heavy.
"People bring food in all the time. It's hard to tell. These things were professionally sealed in a professional cannery. It's hard to find these things sometimes," said U.S. Customs and Border Protection boss Carey Davis.
Those smugglers, according to investigators, made at least 90 trips to and from Costa Rica dating back to 2015. That cocaine ended up in metro Atlanta, Miami, Boston and Charlotte, according to investigators.
“It’s not that we were lucky, it’s that we had good officers who did a good job,” Davis said.
"I think a lot of criminals think that they can get away (with this) or have a better chance of getting away because of the sheer number of people flying through here," said United States Attorney BJay Pak.
Anthony Rondel Blair, Jason Arias, Daniel Newton, David Lomba Barros, Angelica Dominique Cuyugan Tuzon, Shondra Vernon, Michelle Rosa, and Madison Renee Kelleher have been indicted, according to Pak.
“By taking out this organization, it has a long-lasting impact of removing those who profit off of addiction," Pak said.
Pak said the investigation isn't over and there could be more arrests.
“We will not allow our airport to be used as a hub for the spread of illegal narcotics to our communities,” said Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields. “I commend our officers for their efforts on the ground, and to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for aggressively pursuing these cases.”
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