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American Airlines Baggage Handler Receives Life Sentence

October 18, 2012 03:20pm  
American Airlines Baggage Handler Receives Life Sentence

On October 17, 2012, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that Victor D’Costa Bourne received a sentence of life in prison for his role in a huge international drug trafficking ring.  

James T. Hayes, the special agent in charge of HSI New York, stated, “Victor Bourne and his crew of corrupt former American Airline employees mistakenly viewed drug smuggling as a path to riches.  The sentencing today serves as a stern warning about the consequences awaiting drug smugglers.”  

Bourne was a leader for a drug trafficking organization that smuggled drugs from the Caribbean to the United States through the John F. Kennedy International Airport.  During the investigation of Bourne’s case, 20 convictions were handed out, 19 airplane employees were arrested, 13 kilograms of cocaine and 2,900 pounds of marijuana were seized, and $6.9 million was forfeited.  

According to court documents, Bourne’s organization recruited employees from American Airlines and other airlines at both domestic and international ports of entry.  Bourne gave crew chiefs money to assign certain baggage handlers, and the baggage handlers were then paid thousands of dollars to retrieve the cocaine when it arrived on the flight.  

The cocaine was smuggled into the United States in aircrafts’ cargo holds, ceilings, wing assemblies, avionics equipment, and other parts of the planes.  The investigation proved that Bourne was responsible for smuggling more than 150 kilograms into the United States.  He was also making plans to smuggle larger amounts of cocaine in cargo containers.  

U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch stated, “Bourne not only abused the trust of American Airlines to satisfy his own financial greed, but by compromising security at JFK Airport he placed all travelers at risk.  In this post-9/11 era, we will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those at our ports of entry who violate our nation’s drug trafficking laws and threaten the integrity of our borders.”

Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement


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