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Drug Trafficking, Hitman Solicitation: Charges against Air Marshals

Posted Nov 13, 2008 12:41 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Dozens of federal air marshals charged with protecting the public from airplane terrorists have themselves been accused of criminal wrongdoing, including 18 who were charged with felonies.

The tally comes from an investigation by the investigative journalism group ProPublica. Its story says marshals have been accused of aiding a human trafficking ring, smuggling drugs and money, trying to hire a hitman and trying to smuggle explosives from Afghanistan.

"Since 9/11, air marshals have taken bribes, committed bank fraud, hired an escort while on layover and doctored hotel receipts to pad expenses, records show,” the story reports. They have also “used their weapons imprudently.”

The story says one marshal pulled his gun in a dispute over a parking place. Another discharged his gun in a Las Vegas hotel room. Yet another left his gun in a plane lavatory; a teenager found the weapon.

At least three air marshals were hired despite criminal records or being fired from law enforcement jobs, and a fourth was hired while under FBI investigation, the journalists found.

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