2 More Arrests Made In Airport Drug-Smuggling Scheme

Saturday, March 10th 2007, 3:25 pm
By: News On 6

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Two more men were arrested in connection with a drug-smuggling ring that bypassed airport security to send guns and narcotics to Puerto Rico, according to court documents.

Jeffrey Lorenzano Cruz and Joel Eluit Matos Cruz appeared in court Friday on drug-related charges, court documents said.

The cousins were arrested on Thursday at a Sam's Wholesale Club in Orlando after Jeffrey Lorenzano Cruz agreed to meet with an undercover agent there to sell drugs and two guns with silencers, the documents said.

Earlier this week authorities arrested Thomas Anthony Munoz and Zabdiel J. Santiago Balaguer. The airline baggage handlers used their employee uniforms and airport identification cards to enter restricted areas, avoid security screeners and carry a bag containing guns and drugs on a commercial flight from Florida, according to court documents released Wednesday.

Court documents state Jeffrey Lorenzano Cruz told authorities that Balaguer paid him $800 to take 20 pounds of marijuana to Puerto Rico in December 2006. He said drugs were received in Puerto Rico about twice a month.

A message left at the office of Jeffrey Cruz's court-appointed attorney, Jeff Dowdy, was not immediately returned Saturday morning.

Joel Eluit Matos Cruz's court-appointed attorney, David Wilson, declined to comment.

A call to Vincent A. Citro, of the U.S. Attorney's Office, went unanswered Saturday.