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Police bust airport drug ring

From Rob Frehse

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- The New York City Police Department said Thursday it has cracked a major drug ring it says brought more than $75 million worth of cocaine from Guyana to the New York area each year.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes announced the arrests of 13 people, several of whom worked as baggage handlers at John F. Kennedy Airport and allegedly facilitated drug importation.

The alleged international drug ring used operatives at every level of the drug trade, Kelly said. He said large amounts of cocaine were purchased in Guyana and transported on commercial planes to JFK Airport, where the baggage handlers circumvented security and inspection.

Once local members completed wholesale and retail distribution of the drugs, the proceeds were returned to Guyana where additional members of the ring laundered the money, Kelly said.

"This case demonstrates the positive results of cooperation with other agencies to stop the flow of drugs originating far from New York from landing in our back yards," Kelly said.

Among those arrested were Cleon Earl and his common-law wife, Kimberly Jones, a New York City Corrections Officer, officials said.

During the 14-month investigation, officers with "Operation Direct Connection" seized a total of $400,000, five vehicles, three guns and 50 kilos of cocaine, officials said.

Charges include drug conspiracy, gun and drug possession and money laundering, they said.

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