Prescription Drug Abuse
8:54 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Former TSA Official Pleads Guilty In Prescription Drug Trafficking

A former Transportation Security Administration officer pleaded guilty in federal court in New Haven Tuesday  to participating  in a prescription-drug trafficking scheme.  Several law enforcement officers have admitted their roles in the case.

30-year old Jonathan Best pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to posses with intent to distribute the painkiller oxycodone.  

United States Attorney David Fein says several TSA officers are charged with assisting traffickers who were bringing illegal prescription drugs from Florida to CT.  "The two TSA officers stationed at the Palm Beach International Airport were paid bribes in order to allow the drug trafficker to pass through security with a large quantity of illegal pills; and look the other way and/or position themselves to be in charge of security at the time that the trafficker went through."

Another TSA officer at White Plains Airport was allegedly paid bribes to allow the trafficker to return to Florida with cash proceeds from the illegal prescription drug sales. 

Attorney Fein says there’s been a staggering rise in prescription drug abuse. "We’re talking about a series of prescription drugs that when lawfully prescribed and used are beneficial to people, but when trafficked in illegally are highly addictive and very dangerous and cause a tremendous number of health problems including more overdose deaths each year than cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine combined."

20 defendants have been charged in the larger investigation, called Operation Blue Coast. 11 people have pleaded guilty.