Four Flight Attendants Arrested For Allegedly Smuggling Millions In Drug Money To Dominican Republic

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Mariane Angela Entertainment And News Reporter
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Federal authorities announced Wednesday that they have arrested four flight attendants on charges of smuggling millions of dollars of drug money from New York City to the Dominican Republic.

The accused, identified as Charlie Hernandez, 42, Sarah Valerio Pujols, 24 Emmanuel Torres, 34 and Jarol Fabio, 35, all residing in New York City, allegedly exploited their access to the “Known Crewmember (KCM)” lane. This special security lane allows crew members to bypass traditional security measures, including X-ray screenings, which the suspects allegedly used to transport large sums of cash undetected, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

“As alleged, these flight attendants smuggled millions of dollars of drug money and law enforcement funds that they thought was drug money from the United States to the Dominican Republic over many years by abusing their privileges as airline employees,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.

The flight attendants face charges for illegally transferring approximately $8 million to the Dominican Republic. The complaint details a December 2019 incident where an informant allegedly handed Hernandez $121,215, identified as proceeds from drug trafficking. Hernandez reportedly subsequently distributed part of this sum to Pujols for smuggling purposes. The complaint also alleges that from 2015 to 2022, Torres smuggled at least $1.5 million, while Fabio is accused of sneaking out a similar amount between 2015 and 2023.

Pujols’ attorney confirmed that she has been released from custody, but declined further comment. No legal representatives for Hernandez and Torres were listed in the court documents at that time, NBC News reported. Delta Airlines has confirmed that two of the charged individuals are its employees. The airline expressed its commitment to the investigation. (RELATED: Man Busted For Allegedly Attempting To Smuggle Heaps Of Cocaine Hidden In Frozen Shrimp)

“Delta has cooperated fully with law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to do so,” Delta Airlines said in a statement, according to NBC News.