Four JetBlue employees and one Delta Air Lines employee were arrested on charges of abusing their airport security clearances to shoo bags full of hundreds of thousands of dollars past security checkpoints, reports the Boston Globe.
The JetBlue workers are all ground crew, while the Delta employee is a customer service ramp agent.
A federal agent said in a sworn statement that the arrests were the result of a sting operation, involving a witness in cahoots with the government. That witness told the suspects a drug-trafficking organization needed help smuggling cash from sales past the Transportation Security Administration checkpoints.
According to officials, the workers smuggled $417,000 in cash, bringing it from areas like the curbside drop-off or other public places and slipping it past locked doors straight to areas like departure gates.
Beyond that, two of the suspects are accused of smuggling cash aboard commercial flights from Boston to Florida nine times. Nine times (consider your John Hughes knowledge if you think that was a typo).
“Security at our nation’s airports is paramount, and the conduct alleged today is alarming,” US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said in a statement. “Thanks to the hard work and commitment of the federal and state investigators and airline security personnel, a potentially dangerous breach in security was identified.”