by: Liz Foster Updated:
An agent with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is one of nine charged in a drug trafficking conspiracy, according to federal authorities.
BREAKING: TSA officer at CLT Douglas among 9 charged in drug trafficking conspiracy. @wsoctv— Blake Hanson (@BlakeWSOC9) November 15, 2016
Jamie Blunder, 48, who worked as a TSA agent at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, is accused of traveling from Charlotte to Greensboro where he was involved in a drug trafficking network, officials said.
Federal authorities also arrested Aaron Dixon, Alafia Fowles, Dennis Harrington, Irvin Lampley, Samuel Little, David Pate and Cameron Roberts. The ninth defendant, Willie Nevius, has not been arrested yet.
(Top: Jamie Blunder, Alafia Fowles, Dennis Harrington
Bottom: Irvin Lampley, David Pate, Cameron Roberts
Not Pictured: Aaron Dixon, Samuel Little)
Blunder faced a federal judge Tuesday morning. Prosecutors called him the "key to the conspiracy" in a the massive drug trafficking operation. His attorneys asked for a delay in the case so his family could hire more attorneys. He's expected to be back in federal court on Monday.
A 59-page criminal complaint shows the federal investigation into Blunder began in December 2015 after he was pulled over by a North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper for speeding.
During the stop, Blunder was accused of using his TSA badge and Homeland Security Identification Card to try and get out of the traffic stop. It raised a red flag for authorities, who started looking into his criminal history which included a cocaine charge in 2008 that was later dismissed.
TSA agent Jamie Blunder accused of Narcotics trafficking & money laundering conspiracy. FBI investigated for almost a year before arrest. pic.twitter.com/8IT7iEyIUC— Liz Foster (@lizfosterWSOC9) November 15, 2016
Federal authorities believe the drug trafficking network existed and functioned for at least three years.
The criminal complaint shows Blunder used a home in Greensboro as the "stash-house" where the suspects stored, processed, packaged and distributed kilogram-quantities of cocaine. The documents detail numerous "hand-to-hand" drug and money exchanges between Blunder and several others listed in the complaint.
Federal authorities intercepted phone calls between Blunder and the other suspects. Officials said the suspects would use the word "carwash" as a code word to order cocaine and "full detail" to refer to a kilogram of cocaine. Documents also show "one egg biscuit" referred to an ounce of cocaine. The documents also show the code words "paint jobs" represented different typs of drugs being distributed including cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin.
The criminal complaint shows there's no indication that Blunder used Charlotte Douglas International Airport to transfer any drugs. It does accuse Blunder of using his badge and credentials to avoid detection during his travels to and from Greensboro.
A review of Blunder's bank account showed from December 2013 to June 2016, he made numerous cash deposits that totaled more than $80,000. Authorities believe those deposits were from illegal drug distribution activities.
Law enforcement conducted multiple search warrants on the suspects' homes. They said they recovered eight firearms, at least two kilograms of cocaine and more than $150,000 in cash.
The agency released a statement on the allegations against Blunder:
"TSA does not tolerate illegal, unethical or immoral conduct. When such conduct is alleged, TSA investigates it thoroughly. When appropriate, TSA investigates jointly with other law enforcement agencies or requests that a law enforcement authority investigate the allegation. When an investigation finds that misconduct has occurred, the appropriate action is taken."
The TSA told Channel 9 that Blunder was fired last Friday.
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