Bajan & Mum On US Drug Charges
October 18, 2010 Leave a comment
Barbadian Victor Bourne, who US officials said was the leader of a drug trafficking organisation called the Bourne Organisation, has been charged along with his mother and another airline employee for their roles in the illegal scheme.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York has announced that Bourne, a former American Airlines baggage handler, and former dispatching crew chief Miguel Bozza, will face drug trafficking and related charges while Bourne’s mother, Maria Alleyne, will face a charge of structuring the purchase of money orders to avoid financial reporting requirements.
The charges stem from an investigation led by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
According to a superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn, between 2000 and 2009 Bourne led a drug trafficking organisation that relied on corrupt employees of commercial airlines, including American Airlines, at domestic and international ports of entry to smuggle drugs into the United States and throughout the Caribbean.
As part of its criminal activity, the Bourne Organisation allegedly arranged for cocaine to be stowed aboard American Airlines flights leaving the Caribbean for John F Kennedy International Airport.
The organisation then allegedly paid dispatching crew chiefs at American Airlines, including Bozza, to assign crews of baggage handlers, who were also paid by the Bourne Organisation, to retrieve the cocaine upon arrival. As part of the government’s investigation, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized multiple shipments of cocaine from American Airlines passenger flights.
According to a court filing by the government, the Bourne Organisation was responsible for the importation more than 150 kilograms of cocaine into the US.
The indictment further alleges that the organisation was responsible for the shipment of more than 5,000 kilograms of marijuana aboard cargo vessels, in part through a Brooklyn footwear business owned by Bourne’s mother, Alleyne, to businesses in Barbados. Bourne and Alleyne structured the purchase of US Postal Service money orders to avoid federal reporting requirements, and thereby, enabled the organisation to transfer clandestinely its drug proceeds, prosecutors allege.
“These charges are another example our continuing pursuit of international drug traffickers through a global enforcement strategy,” said US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch. “We will continue to investigate and prosecute workers at our ports of entry who threaten the integrity of our borders.”
James Hayes Jr, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in New York, said the use of commercial aircraft to smuggle narcotics creates a serious threat to both national security and public safety.
“As the investigative arm of the US Department Homeland Security, HSI is committed to bringing to justice individuals directly involved with these criminal enterprises and those who are complicit in furthering their schemes,” he said.
Bourne is charged with conducting a continuing criminal enterprise; Bourne and Bozza are charged with importing and distributing narcotics, as well as conspiring to do so, and wire fraud conspiracy; and Bourne and Alleyne are charged with conspiring to avoid financial reporting requirements through structured financial transactions.
If convicted of all charges, Bourne and Bozza face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and Alleyne faces a maximum of five years in jail.
The US government is also seeking forfeiture of the organisation’s criminally derived proceeds.