U.S. attorney says traffickers brought kilos of meth in through checked bags at Orlando airport
Federal authorities say traffickers have been shipping methamphetamine and fentanyl into Orlando International Airport in their checked luggage as part of a years-long criminal operation based in Lake County.
At a press conference Thursday, U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg said 17 people have been indicted in a drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy suspected of bringing thousands of pounds of meth and fentanyl into Central Florida using planes, trains and packages delivered by mail.
Over the past six years, the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated the organization, which federal authorities say got illegal drugs from California, Texas, the eastern U.S. and China.
Handberg said that 49-year-old Dudzinski Poole of Apopka was the leader and would launder drug profits through an entertainment business. Poole is in custody in the Marion County Jail.
Handberg said that, during a hundred round trips over two years, Poole’s couriers would fly to California with cash in their checked baggage and fly back with suitcases full of meth.
“Agents have seized more than 70 kilograms of methamphetamine and two kilograms of fentanyl from suitcases of conspirators who had taken some of those flights,” he said.
The sealed indictment was filed in early June. Handberg said that 14 of the 17 suspects had been arrested so far.
As for use of the airport, the U.S. attorney said the indictment is an opportunity to make improvements, “because we owe it to our community to stop the flow of drugs through the airport, so people can have peace of mind when they’re traveling either to or from the city of Orlando, that they don’t have to worry that they’re sitting next to someone who maybe has 10 kilos of methamphetamine in a bag in the cargo hold.”
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