Paul Belloisi, a 55-year-old American Airlines mechanic from Hicksville, NY, was rated guilty this past Tuesday of attempting to smuggle a shipment of cocaine stashed in a secret compartment under a plane’s cockpit at JFK International Airport. The cocaine was estimated to be worth approximately $320,000, and it was uncovered during a typical check-in by Custom and Border Protection (CBP) officers when the aircraft landed from Jamaica on February 4, 2020.
To capture Belloisi in the process, law enforcement officials swapped the cocaine with fake bricks and sprayed them with a substance that glowed brightly under a special light revealed. For surveillance, the plane was kept under close watch and shortly prior to its expected departure, officers of CBP and Homeland Security Investigations noticed Belloisi enter the electronics storage area. Donning gloves that glowed with the black light, it provided evidence that he had handled the phony bricks. Furthermore, with the addition of a tool bag and an outerwear with cutouts in its lining and able to fit the bricks, it confirmed the suspicions of Belloisi’s involvement and left no room to doubt that he was guilty.
Belloisi was convicted by a jury on all three drug charges after being apprehended “red handed”. The charges included conspiring to hold cocaine, conspiring to import cocaine, and importing cocaine. He could be sentenced to up to 20 years very soon.
David Jason Cohen, Belloisi’s lawyer, expressed his astonishment with the jury’s conclusion and pointed out that the weight of evidence disfavored the final result. While his former representative, David Besso, gave an assertion in February 2020 that the government did not have substantial proof to support their claims in the indictment.
US Attorney Breon Peace, who issued a statement as regards to the incident, boldly proclaimed that “this corrupt airline mechanic not only abused his position of trust and compromised the security of a significant border crossing in our district, but he was additionally ready to possibly put travelers and the neighborhood in harm’s way.” HSI New York special agent in charge Ivan Arvelo also added that “As well as violating the law by attempting to smuggle cocaine into the United States, Belloisi used his revered role as an American Airlines mechanic at JFK International Airport to perpetuate his criminal activity.”