(CMR) An American Airlines (AA) mechanic has been charged after 25 pounds of cocaine was found hidden in an external compartment on a plane in early February.
52-year-old Paul Belloisi has been charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to import cocaine and importation of cocaine.
If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
According to court filings, on February 4, 2020, shortly after a AA flight arrived at the John F Kenendy airport in New York, from Montego Bay, Jamaica, a routine check was done and the drugs were discovered.
The search by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) resulted in the discovery of cocaine bricks concealed behind an insulation blanket in a compartment beneath the aircraft.
Law enforcement teams began surveillance of the aircraft.
Shortly before the aircraft was scheduled to depart, Belloisi was reportedly observed approaching the aircraft and entering the compartment where the cocaine had been hidden.
The team of law enforcement officers confronted Belloisi after he exited the compartment.