Testimony in New York: American Airlines Barbados flight “primary drug-ferrying route”

American Airlines Flight 1384, the “Cocaine Express”

Who are Victor Bourne’s “criminal connections” in Barbados?

This probably explains why the US Attorney General Eric Holder and a host of other US law enforcement personnel started invading our island in Summer of 2010. Many are still here. They try and act like tourists at Oistins but they stand out like sore thumbs…

Much of the action at Kennedy was centered on American Airlines flights from some warm-weather location, and the primary drug-ferrying route was Flight 1384, a daily flight from Barbados, which for much of the year arrives after dark.

Bourne, a native of Barbados who prosecutors say had criminal connections there, bought cocaine in bulk and arranged for baggage handlers in Barbados to hide it on New York-bound planes, several American Airlines employees testified.

On Boeing 757s, the Barbadian handlers hid the bricks of cocaine among loose bags and freight. On larger 767s, they stowed the drugs in giant containers that were filled with luggage at the terminal and then loaded onto the planes. On Airbus A300s, they found hidden spaces behind the wall and ceiling panels in the cargo hold.

from the San Antonio news article Airline baggage ripe for rifling, and smuggling

Authorities seized US$300 million dollars in profits!

For more background, check out our October 17, 2010 post: Breaking News: Barbadian Victor Bourne, mother Maria Alleyne Bourne, charged in massive cocaine smuggling via American Airlines

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10 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law

10 responses to “Testimony in New York: American Airlines Barbados flight “primary drug-ferrying route”

  1. TWWIFOS

    The NY times had an article about this yesterday. It’s not only a big drug problem, but you better watch what you put in those bags, because if it’s of any value there is a good chance it’s not gonna be there when you arrive. They said they 80% of the people the work for AA were in on it.

    “It became very obvious that everyone in American Airlines’ baggage services is dirty,” Mr. Savitt said. “If they don’t steal commercial cargo on a regular basis, they are going to rifle suitcases. It is astounding the kind of valuable items they were able to steal.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/10/nyregion/cocaine-smuggling-case-shows-airline-baggage-handlers-misconduct.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1323522013-Vf4lFBBzN5VjXsAPrEsbew

  2. Shocking

    American Airlines definitely deserve a class action up their arses for allowing this unbelievable nonsense to have continued for years.

    Suggest any law-abiding passengers in Barbados who ever had absolutely anything go wrong when taking flight, AA1384, contact a good American attorney.

  3. just want to know

    no wonder the airlines is in receivership, when you have such awful people working on the inside.

  4. Name

    OMG and we took AA 1384 up to JFK/NYC on 2 occasions!!

  5. Green Monkey

    Sort of ironic that the American TSA for some time now has been inconveniencing the flying public by subjecting them to searches to the point just short of a full anal probe or routinely zapping passengers with their Xray vision machines (which many still believe is potentially exposing the public to hazardous levels of radiation http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/tsa_backscatter_ban_europe_union_cancer_study_body_scan_airport_205817-1.html ). All this to prevent passengers bringing smuggled explosives or other forms of contraband onto a flight. At the same time the passengers were taking off shoes and belts and going through the TSA’s intensive pre-boarding screening procedures to protect the safety of their flight, baggage handlers have had apparent free reign to smuggle contraband (fortunately mainly in the form of drugs instead of explosives) onto or off of aircraft and riffle through luggage and cargo almost at will and no one gave a damn.

  6. NYC/BGI

    it looks like a continuance of past smuggling of a past PM who was intercepted in New York with Coke and banished from coming back to the states for the smuggling.

  7. Undertaker

    I had things taken in 2009 from my suitcase on 1384 so I KNOW they are thieves just never knew it was so bad.

  8. Name

    oh ramgoat -and I had an expensive tele-lens packed in my suitcase.luckily it got thru OK

  9. runner

    What should be of a greater concern is that Barbados is a transhipment point for drugs and that Barbadians are facilitating this illegal trade.. not American airlines and TSA .. gotta love this denial, holier than thou attitude

  10. Green Monkey

    Barbadians are facilitating this illegal trade.. not American airlines and TSA .

    Not to say that the GAIA authorities and the management of the aircraft handling service that deals with AA at the Barbados airport and/or our police don’t have to take responsibility for any of the drug smuggling going on under their noses at GAIA, But it seems like American Airlines and whatever policing bodies are responsible for monitoring US airports and particularly JFK have a big problem on their hands that goes beyond these particular Bajan connected drug smugglers.

    From the NY Times article:

    Seven American Airlines employees testified against Mr. Bourne, all but one of them defendants who pleaded guilty and testified for the government. Ms. Notopoulos, who prosecuted the case with Toni M. Mele, Soumya Dayananda, Alexander A. Solomon and Tanya Y. Hill, summed up their testimony and the government’s case by calling American Airlines Terminal 8 “a cesspool of corruption.”

    Even the defense lawyer, Mr. Savitt, said that he believed part of the witnesses’ testimony. “It became very obvious that everyone in American Airlines’ baggage services is dirty,” Mr. Savitt said. “If they don’t steal commercial cargo on a regular basis, they are going to rifle suitcases. It is astounding the kind of valuable items they were able to steal.” (emphasis added /GM)

    snip

    “I think everyone sitting in the courtroom and sitting in the jury box was surprised about how long it went on and that it was known to everybody,” Ms. Grefski, the juror, said of the criminal activity.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/10/nyregion/cocaine-smuggling-case-shows-airline-baggage-handlers-misconduct.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&sq=jfk%20smuggling%20&st=cse&scp=1

    I guess AA and the traveling public is lucky that an Al Qaida suicide bomber didn’t figure out that there was no need to take a chance and head through the pre-boarding TSA security check to be wanded, poked, prodded and Xrayed and probably have the bomb hidden in his shorts detected when getting hired on as an AA baggage handler could bring all sorts of unadvertised fringe benefits – like on the job training on how to smuggle contraband onto aircraft and where were the best places to hide it out of sight. Learning from co-workers how to open up passengers luggage and commercial cargo packages or containers undetected by airport security could also have certain advantages to a terrorist beyond just being able to steal the contents to auction on ebay.