"We're working closely with the airlines affected, we're working with DFW, we're working with TSA, and others to ensure that we're addressing whatever security measures were bypassed", said Cox.
No actual drugs, firearms or explosives were smuggled onto flights as part of the investigation, authorities confirmed. Officials say the individuals managed to help transport 66 kilograms of the counterfeit narcotics.
One of the defendants also offered to smuggle guns through the airport for a higher fee, prosecutors said.
Charlotte was one of at least three USA airports listed as a destination for the funneling of 66 kilos of fake methamphetamine out of Texas, according to a release from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
"We must continue our public private partnership and we must assure that our travel is safe and we prevent individuals such as these subjects from using their access and placement as instruments of compromise", said Eric Jackson, FBI Special Agent. They were moving what they believed to be meth through the airport, charging undercover agents they believed to be drug smugglers between $1,500 and $2,000 per kilogram, according to federal authorities.
Over the course of an nearly two-year investigation, the employees, seven of whom worked for American Airlines subsidiary Envoy, allegedly shipped 66 pounds of fake meth from D/FW to airports in Charlotte, North Carolina; Phoenix; and Newark, New Jersey. The suspects would also act as "look-outs" or engage in counter-surveillance to undermine police presence.
Cox said no real meth was provided or transported during the investigation. Their position at the airlines are not clear but we know that seven of the defendants worked for Envoy and two worked for Spirit Airlines.
A spokesman at Spirit Airlines told CBS11, Spirit has been advised of this matter and will cooperate fully with law enforcement.
All of the men were arrested on Monday and the indictment against them was unsealed the following day.
The indictment charges Nelson Pabon, 47, Jean Loui Vargas-Malave, 28, Juan Camacho Melendez, aka "Kendo Kaponi" and "Anthony", 22, Ruben Benitez-Matienzo, 45, Jose Luis Gaston-Rolon, 24, Joshua Israel Pagan Zapata, 21, Domingo Villafane Martinez, III, 30, Luis Javier Collazo Rosado, aka "Luisito", 21, Michael LNU, and Cristian David Cruz-Rodriguez, 23.