MIAMI (AP) — Federal authorities seized nearly 300 bricks of cocaine during a routine X-ray baggage inspection after a U.S. Virgin Islands charter flight landed at an executive airport in South Florida on Tuesday night.
Six people, including two police officers, were arrested after agents found 328 kilograms (723 pounds) of cocaine in 294 plastic-wrapped bricks of cocaine at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport on Tuesday night, the Miami Herald reported.
“The bricks were inside several duffle bags and suitcases belonging to the only passengers on the private plane,” according to a criminal complaint filed by Homeland Security Investigations.
Those initially arrested included Shakim Mike, Maleek Leanard, Roystin David and Teshawn Adams, the newspaper reported. Two others, Trevon Adams and Anthon Berkley, were arrested later, officials said.
Shakim Mike and Teshawn Adams are with the U.S. Virgin Islands Police Department, the newspaper reported.
The four defendants who were aboard the plane are U.S. citizens residing in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, according to the complaint. Officials said that as Customs and Border Protection officers inspected the baggage, Mike fled the airport. He later surrendered.
During questioning, Teshawn Adams told Customs officers that he arranged with Mike to smuggle the cocaine on the private charter flight from St. Thomas, officials said.
He told agents that Mike paid half of the charter fees — $11,000 — up front, and then gave money orders to Teshawn Adams to pay another $11,000, the Herald reported.
Teshawn Adams also told the officers that another associate, Trevon Adams, planned to travel from Tampa to Miami to pick up the passengers with their cocaine load and take them to Orlando, authorities said.
During questioning, David told agents that he knew Mike and Teshawn Adams from his work with the U.S. Army National Guard. He also said he was not aware the baggage on the flight contained cocaine, though he admitted helping load the bags onto the plane for the trip from St. Thomas to Miami, the Herald reported.
According to the complaint, customs officers received permission to search David’s smartphone and found messages between him and Teshawn Adams that read: “moving product,” “recruiting flight attendants,” “invest all the money from our bricks,” “meeting the big dogs in Santo Domingo,” and “living off the airport trips,” according to the complaint.
Trevon Adams, who was in Tampa, said he was supposed to get paid between $9,000 and $10,000 for transporting the passengers and their cocaine on the flight, the newspaper reported.
Investigators said that Berkeley was going to travel from Orlando to Miami to pick up a kilogram of cocaine from the plane shipment and deliver it to a buyer in Orlando. Berkeley told investigators that he was supposed to be paid $18,000.
Attorney Marshall Dore Louis said he looks forward to vigorously defending Leanard. An attorney for Berkeley declined to comment on the case. Online court records didn’t list an attorney for Teshawn Adams. Attorneys for the other men didn’t immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.