Three TSA agents and at least two police officers have been arrested, accused of being involved in a massive oxycodone trafficking operation between Connecticut, New York and Florida, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Twenty people were arrested, including three Transportation Security Administration officers based at airports in Florida and New York, a Westchester County police officer and a Florida State Trooper, officials said.
Among those under arrest are TSA officers Christopher Allen, 45, and John Best, 30. Both were based at Palm Beach International Airport in Florida. Brigitte Jones, 48, a TSA officer at Westchester County Airport. All three are accused of taking cash to help move the Oxycodone through airport security without being detected.
U.S. Attorney David B. Fein, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and Stamford Police Chief Robert Nivakoff held a news conference on Tuesday afternoon in Stamford to discuss the arrests and said nine of the people are from Connecticut and the leaders of the group were based in Waterbury.
Under arrest in Connecticut are Bruce Yazdzik, 28, of Waterbury, David Gaudiosi, 26, of Waterbury, Patrick Serafine, 26, of Waterbury, Marivette Alicea, 21 of Waterbury, Christopher Roderick, 31 of Caterbury, Steven Stopper, 46, of Naugatuck, Kevin Lund, 38, of Naugatuck, Bernard Famiglietti, 49, of Waterbury and Sandra Canfield, 30 of Waterbury.
The investigation began when officials received a tip that someone was traveling to Stamford from Florida to sell thousands of oxycodone pills.
In April, police arrested the person, referred to only as “the individual” and he admitted to running pills to Connecticut.
The man said he bought the pills from suppliers in Florida. Sometimes he used automobiles to transport the drugs to Connecticut and then sell them to narcotics traffickers here. But he also flew commercial flights into Westchester County Airport in New York several times a week, carrying up to 8,000 pills at a time, officials said. A TSA officer and a county police officer who were involved would take regular payments in exchange for regular service, Fein said.
The man who transported the drugs is cooperating to receive a benefit in a case that is pending in Connecticut and recorded a conversation with a New York TSA agent that shows how they arranged the transports, officials said.
“Just tell me what time you're coming in, tell me what flight you're coming in on, what time you're going to be at the airport, when you get to the airport and you're there and you're checking in at the counter. You let me know, so when you're coming through security, I'll take care of the rest,” the agent said in the recording.
Leaders of the group in Waterbury would pay $10 or $11 dollars per pill and then resell them in Connecticut, officials said.
The group is accused of being behind the transport of tens of thousands of oxycodone pills as well as transporting cash proceeds from the sale of the drugs back to Florida.