46 Arrested In Drug Conspiracy That Feds Say Ran Through DFW Airport

Dozens of people have been arrested by the FBI on drug-related charges after a North Texas-based investigation featuring the Dallas Police Department and an alphabet soup of federal agencies. Some of the drug conspiracy, feds say, ran through DFW Airport.

Four of the people arrested — Molitoni Katoa, Janelle Isaacs, Moniteveti Katoa and Funaki Falahola — promised an undercover federal agent that they could get cocaine through the airport to other airports around the country. All four were DFW employees or knew someone who was and could help them through security, feds say. Eventually, aided by the agent, the four would help move multiple kilograms of a substance they were led to believe was cocaine between DFW and Las Vegas, Newark, Phoenix, Chicago, Wichita and San Francisco, the feds say.  

In April 2013, Falahola first made contact with the undercover officer, telling him that he could help him get cocaine to destinations around the country, authorities say. In May, Falahola introduced the agent to Moniteveti Katoa, who detailed how the drug mule would be placed on the employee flight list, allowing the mule to bypass security measures.

The federal indictment details a drop made by Falahola and Moniteveti Katoa later that year. After picking up a backpack they believed contained four kilograms of cocaine from the agent, the duo got on a plane to Las Vegas. Upon arrival, they handed the bag to another federal agent and were paid the agreed fee, $9,000.

Most of the defendants in the case are charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute heroin, methamphetamine or cocaine. Eight defendants have also been charged with laundering the profits of the alleged drug operation. If convicted, the defendants face up to life in prison on the drug charges. The money laundering charges could bring 20 additional years.

DFW Airport spokesman David Magaña said in a statement Wednesday that the airport was aware of the investigation as it was happening and that none of the defendants were currently employed at the airport.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young