ATLANTA - Federal authorities believe a 44-year-old Lawrenceville man was part of a trio of Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport employees who participated in a fake heroin and cocaine sting.
Jon Patton and two alleged co-conspirators were indicted Tuesday in federal court on charges related to an airport drug-smuggling operation.
The indictment charges Patton - along with Leslie Adgar, 42, of Decatur - with conspiring to distribute narcotics between Atlanta and New York's LaGuardia Airport on three separate occasions.
A third man, Andre Mays, 24, of Atlanta, is accused of smuggling on a single date last December.
Patton, a Transportation Security Administration employee, worked with an undercover DEA agent in December to broker a drug deal transporting two kilograms of cocaine through Hartsfield-Jackson to New York, authorities said. For this first deal, Patton was allegedly to be paid $8,000.
Two days later, Patton allegedly helped transport two kilograms of fake cocaine in a carry-on bag.
In late January, Patton was involved in another deal that sent one kilogram of fake heroin and $4,500 in cash to New York in the same carry-on bag, authorities said. He was in uniform and on duty when he accepted the luggage and allegedly helped smuggle it through security.
A third and final transaction occurred Friday, this time involving three kilograms of fake cocaine. Patton passed the faux drugs through security and was arrested shortly thereafter, authorities said.
"This indictment should serve as a cautionary tale for others who would betray the trust that the public places in the front-line workers at our nation's airports," said United States Attorney David E. Nahmias.
The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $4 million. All three men remain in federal custody.