Last week, federal agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration arrested more than 30 people in a drug bust at a Pennsylvania Boeing manufacturing plant. The arrests came after a four-year investigation into alleged drug crimes at the Ridley Park plant.
Following the raid, which took place Thursday morning at the Boeing plant, 23 people had been arrested and charged with selling illegal drugs and prescription painkillers to other employees at the plant. In addition, 14 other people were charged with attempted drug possession for allegedly trying to buy the drugs.
According to DEA reports, several prescription painkillers were discovered by investigators during the bust, such as painkillers Oxycontin, fentanyl, and buprenorphine, and anti-anxiety medication Xanax.
All of the employees charged were suspended from Boeing upon their arrests. If they are convicted, they face potential sentences of up to 260 years in a federal prison and fines totaling in the millions, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
The investigation reportedly began in 2006 when a group of plant employees called Boeing's internal ethics hotline and reported their suspicions of illegal drug activity at the plant. Initially, Boeing began an internal investigation into the allegations, and turned its findings over to federal drug investigators a year later.
More than 6,000 people are employed at the Pennsylvania plant, which primarily manufactures aircraft and helicopters for U.S. military use in Iraq and Afghanistan. Officials say that the suspected drug use does not appear to have affected the employees' work, and that the safety or quality of the aircraft was not compromised.
Source: Reuters, "Boeing workers busted in illegal drug sweep at plant," Dave Warner, Sept. 29, 2011
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