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An American Airlines Mechanic Convicted of Smuggling Drugs under the Electronic Compartment on Jets

An American Airlines mechanic was arrested for smuggling 25 pounds of cocaine by hiding it under the cockpit of an aircraft. Paul Belloisi (55) was convicted Tuesday by a federal jury in Brooklyn of conspiring to possess cocaine, conspiring to import cocaine, and importing cocaine, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the eastern district of New York announced in a news release.

The verdict followed a one-week trial before United States District Judge Dora L. Irizarry. When sentenced, Belloisi faces up to 20 years in prison. According to CBS News, Belloisi had acted as an “inside man” who abused his position at American Airlines.

Belloisi worked as a mechanic for American Airlines at JFK International Airport, and he was caught in a routine random search on Feb. 4, 2020, by agents from CBP and an anti-terrorism contraband enforcement team found 10 bricks of cocaine, weighing roughly 25 1/2 pounds, and worth up to $320,000. The cocaine bricks were stashed inside a hidden electronics compartment below the cockpit of an American Airlines flight from Montego Bay.

Richard Donoghue, then the U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of New York, said in a statement that “this airline mechanic abused his position as a trusted employee and his access to sensitive areas of JFK International Airport to participate in the clandestine importation of cocaine.”

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