Feds Charge Queens Man In Airport Crime Sting
The city’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor last week said a 32-year-old Jamaica man has been charged with running a ring of criminals who used empanadas, chocolate bars and scuba diving diplomas to sneak heroin and cocaine into the U.S. in cargo shipments that arrived at JFK International Airport.
A six-month investigation by U.S. Homeland Security agents revealed that Jorge Guerrero also allegedly used his job as a cargo mover to steal expensive items in luggage lost by passengers at LaGuardia and JFK Airports.
Guerrero allegedly turned over the stolen items for a hefty profit in his native country of Ecuador, Special Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said.
“Whether using access to international cargo to profit from Ecuador’s bargain wholesale prices for narcotics, or pilfering designer underwear from personal luggage, the Guerrero organization rarely overlooked an opportunity to earn a dishonest dollar,” Brennan said.
Brennan said that during a six-month wiretap, investigators heard Guerrero allegedly discussing the transport of shipments of cocaine and heroin, along with details of how he stole property from the luggage of airline passengers—and had airport security tapes erased to cover his tracks.
Brennan said U.S. Homeland Security agents, armed with a warrant, searched an apartment Guerrero shared with his wife, Cecilia on 106th Avenue in Jamaica, where they found property allegedly stolen from passengers dating back to 2011.
The agents also recovered 13 suitcases, some of which bore tags with their rightful owners’ names, along with more than 50 handbags with designer labels, including Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Burberry, Coach and Prada, 15 iPods, laptop computers, 30 cameras, 50 watches, 30 pairs of sunglasses, bottles of high-end liquor, perfume and clothing with tags still attached, Brennan said.
A search of The Bronx home of one of Guerrero’s alleged accomplices turned up more than a pound of heroin and cocaine, Brennan said. A subsequent search of another suspect’s Brooklyn home yielded Western Union wire transfer receipts to an Ecuadorian drug supplier, along with drug paraphernalia including a scale, strainer, bags and drug-cutting agents, Brennan said.
Federal agents also intercepted approximately nine pounds of cocaine and more than two pounds of heroin from a warehouse at JFK Airport and private parcel delivery companies in Newark, New Jersey over a three-month period, authorities said.
A total of six people were charged with conspiracy, including Guerrero, his wife and Luis Amable Caisa Altamirano, of 69th Street in Woodside, authorities said.