Ex-airline cargo worker sentenced in drug smuggling scheme at New York’s JFK Airport

Ex-airline worker sentenced in JFK drug smuggling

NEW YORK — A former Delta Air Lines baggage worker has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in a smuggling ring that shepherded cocaine and heroin through New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Peter J. Smith said Friday that Jorge Espinal’s sentence “sends a strong message.” Authorities say he was a ringleader among corrupt Delta Air Lines workers who pulled drug-filled luggage off jets and kept it away from customs agents.

Espinal was sentenced Tuesday in a Brooklyn federal court. He pleaded guilty in January to a drug conspiracy charge.

Defense lawyer Howard L. Jacobs says Espinal told the court he got involved in the plot while financially strapped.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. aided the investigation.

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