CaribWorldNews, SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Weds. Sept. 16, 2009: Nine American Airlines employees were among 23 suspects nabbed Tuesday in what is alleged to be a major drug transit operation.
Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI officials said the 23 allegedly helped stuff suitcases with illicit drugs and used commercial airlines to smuggle the drugs into San Juan.
The drug trafficking organization is allegedly headed by defendant Wilfredo Rodriguez Rosade, officials said. A September 9 indictment unsealed Tuesday, said Justice Department officials also moved to seize $18 million worth of property owned by the suspects, including seven homes, three businesses and an apartment complex.
Twenty-two arrests occurred in Puerto Rico while one was in Miami, Florida.
The defendants face sentences ranging from 10 years to life in prison and personal fines of up to $4 million if convicted.