An American Airlines aircraft mechanic doing routine maintenance on one of the company’s aircrafts discovered a lot more than he had bargained for when he found about 30 pounds of cocaine hidden in the nose of the plane. He immediately contacted the authorities and Sheriff’s Deputies arrived to take the haul into custody.
Tulsa World reports that the aircraft had flown in from Bogota, Colombia, to Miami, Florida, before heading to Tulsa International Airport. According to the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, the aircraft, a Boeing 757, was undergoing routine maintenance on Sunday afternoon when one of the technicians found one of, what would later be identified as seven bricks of cocaine in the airplane’s nose.
The Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, Casey Roebuck, acknowledged that the haul was quite lofty and could thus safely assume that there was cartel involvement. “That’s why we’re turning it over to the DEA,” she said. It is thought that had the drugs hit the streets they would have had a net worth of about $434,000.
The transporters of the drugs seem to have been caught off guard as the aircraft had first been flagged for maintenance on its way in from Bogota but got sent up to Tulsa instead, where the American Airlines maintenance base is located, because the base in Miami was too busy, Reuters reports.
Describing the events that led to the drugs being found, the Sheriff’s Office posted a Facebook message stating that the aircraft technician had gone into the nose of the aircraft to check an electronics bay when he noticed that some of the insulation appeared to be new. It was when he moved it that he discovered the first brick of cocaine. He informed the authorities, who then came over and discovered the remaining packages.
Roebuck said the packages were all covered with wheel grease in a failed bid to disguise the drug’s scent from sniffing dogs, it appeared. The content of the packages has been confirmed as being cocaine and is being held at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.
A spokesperson for American Airlines said that their company was working with the DEA as well as other federal agencies to try to figure out how the cocaine made its way onto the aircraft in the first place. At this time, there have been no arrests made in connection with the discovery of the illicit haul.
By Liku Zelleke
Photo Courtesy Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office