Published on Tuesday, July 7, 2020

American Airlines mechanic charged with cocaine smuggling

An American Airlines mechanic is facing a hefty prison sentence after allegedly being involved in the import of more than twenty-five pounds of cocaine.

Paul Belloisi, 52, was arrested in February after handling the illicit consignment hidden in an external compartment of a plane just arrived from Montego Bay.

It followed a stakeout of the plane by Homeland Security investigators and U.S. Customs and Border Protection at New York JFK Airport.

Belloisi, of Hicksville, NY, appeared in federal court via teleconference and is charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, and importation of cocaine.

"As alleged, this airline mechanic abused his position as a trusted employee and his access to sensitive areas of JFK Airport to participate in the clandestine importation of cocaine," said US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Richard P. Donoghue.

"These charges will serve as a warning that federal law enforcement authorities remain vigilant in protecting the security of our borders and fighting the scourge of international narcotics trafficking."

According to prosecutors, the cocaine bricks were hidden in an external mechanical compartment underneath the aircraft and investigators witnessed the mechanic handle the shipment.

Belloisi was described as an 'inside man' by Homeland Security special agent-in-charge, Peter Fitzhugh.

"We take this matter very seriously and continue to cooperate with law enforcement throughout their investigation," the airline said.

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