TSA Duo Busted in FBI Drug Smuggling Sting Operation

Ernie Suggs
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
February 1, 2013


tracesofreality traces of reality TOR TORradio radio podcast guillermo jimenez TSA BASE highway security checkpoints management budget federalA former TSA agent, who believed he was smuggling heroin for a powerful drug cartel through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport security, was sentenced to 11 years in prison Wednesday.

The sentencing of Richard C. Cook II follows a six-year sentence that his partner, Timothy G. Gregory, 26, was handed earlier this month for the same crimes.

U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates described the sentences as “significant,” and appropriately so to deter others.

“The defendants abused their positions as TSA officers to smuggle drugs through the world’s busiest airport,” Yates said. “The citizens of this district deserve better than Mr. Cook and Mr. Gregory – they deserve officers who obey the laws that they are entrusted to enforce.

Both Cook and Gregory got caught up in elaborate sting operations and never smuggled real drugs. But according to Yates’ office, beginning in January 2012, the two “misused their positions as officers with the Transportation Security Administration to smuggle what they believed to be illegal drugs through Atlanta’s airport security.”

On Jan. 11, 2012, Cook met with two undercover officers, who were posing as members of a drug cartel. The officers gave Cook three kilograms of fake heroin, and $3,500 in cash. After getting the package through airport security, Cook delivered the drugs to another undercover officer in exchange for $4,000.

He repeated it on Jan. 26, where he was once again paid $7,500 for his services. By February, Cook had resigned from the TSA, but he had recruited Gregory to assist with the drug smuggling operation, authorities say. He was even paid a $1,000 referral fee.

On Feb. 24, Gregory was paid $5,000 to smuggle five kilograms of fake cocaine. Authorities say Gregory also agreed to transport 10 kilograms of fake cocaine from Atlanta to Commerce.

Read the full article— Two TSA officers sentenced in drug smuggling ring