airport security, Dwight Iva Durant, King Airport, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, Sari Koshetz, Shawn Dowe, smuggling, St. Thomas. Cocaine, TSA, U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Florida
Today news that another TSA worker was charged with smuggling drugs through airport security reached the mainland. This time a TSA Supervisor was implicated in a large ring that involved a number of TSA issued airport with clearances to pass freely through security in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
This is hardly an isolated and there have been string of such cases over the past 36 months. According to a DHS inspector general’s summary of its significant investigations in late 2012, 318 DHS employees and contractors were arrested in 2011 for crimes including smuggling drugs, guns and child pornography.
Two TSA screeners were arrested in August of 2012 for smuggling cocaine through security at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport. A similar incident in occurred in March, 2012 when two TSA workers in Honolulu were arrested for their involvement in a methamphetamine smuggling ring. This came just months after another TSA worker, a TSA Behavioral Detection Officer (BDO), was sentenced for aiding a drug kingpin in smuggling drugs through Buffalo airport.
In late 2011, another screener, this time at LAX, was indicted for helping the son of the former LA Fire Chief smuggle marijuana through security.
The fact there there have been four reports of TSA worker criminal activity in a week, and on average one every three days, is indicative of the low hiring standards at TSA and the agency’s disinterest in correcting the problem that is its criminal workforce.
Virgin Island Daily News
TSA supervisor among 2 men charged in cocaine conspiracy
By Amanda Norris (Daily News Staff)
Published: November 20, 2013
ST. THOMAS - Two Virgin Islanders, one of whom is a supervisor for the Transportation and Security Administration, will face charges of conspiracy to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine in Miami.
A joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Miami and Caribbean divisions led to the arrests Tuesday of Shawn Dowe, 29, and Dwight Iva Durant, 44.
The case may be related to an ongoing investigation into cocaine trafficking at King Airport on St. Thomas.
Seven baggage handlers or airport employees were arrested this summer for passing packages of cocaine through security and meeting with couriers in airport restrooms. The couriers took flights to Atlanta, Miami and New York and transported cocaine in carry-on or checked luggage, according to court documents.
Durant was arrested on St. Thomas. Dowe was arrested in California and will make his initial appearance in District Court there today, according to a press release sent Wednesday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida.
An indictment filed Nov. 14 was not available Wednesday on an online court records database.
Both men also face charges of aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute cocaine. They will be tried in Miami and, if convicted, the defendants each face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a possible statutory maximum sentence of life.
This case is a result of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the partnership is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz, Durant no longer works for the agency.
“The TSA has a zero tolerance for unethical behavior in the workplace. The individual is no longer with our agency. The TSA Virgin Islands, the TSA Office of Inspections and the DHS Office of Inspector General cooperated in the investigation and apprehension of the individual,” Koshetz said in an email.