When it comes to the magnificent art of international drug smuggling, it is imperative to constantly make logistical advancements in transport practices because, no matter how clever a method is for getting a shipment from one place to another, there will always be some pesky bastard who will stumble onto the scheme and render it obsolete.
We suspect that a Colombian drug cartel is back to the drawing board again this week after a maintenance crew with American Airlines discovered around 30 pounds of cocaine stowed in the nose of a Boeing 757.
Reports indicate the plane, which originated from Bogota, ended up getting pegged for a routine checkup once it landed in Miami, but some timing issues caused that service to be delayed until the plane touched down in Tulsa. That’s where a technician discovered the drugs stowed inside the electronics bay of the nose gear.
“One of my deputies received a call out here saying that maintenance individuals working on a plane found what essentially was cocaine,” Tulsa’s sheriff, Vic Regalado told CBS News. “The plane left Bogota, came into Miami, got picked up on a computer for routine maintenance. Usually that would happen in Miami, but they were overloaded so they assigned it up here.”
There were a total of seven bricks of cocaine found in the nose of the plane. Law enforcement officials said the entire shipment had been covered in wheel grease in what they believe was an effort to prevent drug-sniffing dogs from going buck wild in case the heat came on in Miami.
But while investigators are not divulging too much information on the case, it most definitely spells bad news for some Miami American Airlines employees who are obviously in cahoots with a drug cartel. Right now, the U.S. DEA is reportedly conducting an investigation to see if they can find out more about the origins of what is being called a “sophisticated operation.”
According to estimates provided by Tulsa law enforcement, the shipment is worth somewhere between $200,000 and $434,000 on the black market.
This is not the first time drugs have been discovered by an airline maintenance crew in Tulsa.
In 2015, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office seized just over 26 pounds of cocaine that had been found on a plane owned by American Airlines. In fact, American Airlines employees have a rather extensive history for assisting in the distribution of illegal drugs. Several years ago, the DEA busted dozens of AA ramp workers and contractors suspected of smuggling cocaine and heroin into the United States, reports the Associated Press.
Many of those arrested were booked on charges that come with a sentence of life in prison if convicted.