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Las Vegas Airport Employee Sentenced to Prison for Role in Large Scale Cocaine Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

FEB 04 (ANCHORAGE, Alaska) –Bryan M. Bledsoe, of Las Vegas, was sentenced to 36 months in prison on February 2, 2016, for using his employment at McCarran International Airport to aid drug traffickers in sneaking large quantities of cocaine past security and onto Alaska-bound flights.

Bledsoe previously pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to distribute cocaine. As part of his guilty plea, Bledsoe, an airline employee, admitted that he personally took bags full of cocaine through the secure area of McCarran International Airport and then delivered the drugs to co-conspirators who then transported the drugs to Anchorage for distribution. Overall, Bledsoe admitted being involved in the shipment of between five and 15 kilograms of cocaine during the conspiracy.

According to information presented to the court, the conspiracy began as early as 2012 and continued until June 2014.  During that time, conspirators worked to import multiple kilograms of cocaine into Alaska from Las Vegas for distribution. After the drugs were sold, the conspirators then secreted more than $1million in cash proceeds out of Alaska and back to the Lower 48.

Bledsoe, an airline employee working at the airport, was recruited by conspirators to help them bypass security with the cocaine. On a regular basis, co-conspirators provided Bledsoe with bags containing multiple kilograms of cocaine. Bledsoe then used his airport employee credentials to bring the drugs into the airport without having to pass through security screening. Once in the secure area of the airport, Bledsoe then returned the un-scanned bags of cocaine to his co-conspirators who then boarded Alaska-bound flights.

On June 1, 2014, investigators actually observed Bledsoe and his co-conspirators in action. On that day, co-defendant Dewane Blue gave Bledsoe a bag containing 10 kilograms of cocaine. Bledsoe then carried the drugs past security checkpoints and returned them to Blue.  Blue then gave the drugs to a third co-conspirator, Daren Cole, who was scheduled to travel to Anchorage that afternoon. Before Cole boarded his flight, however, his carry-on was seized and agents recovered the approximate 10 kilograms of cocaine from inside.

During his sentencing hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason focused on the fact that Bledsoe had used his job as an airline employee to help perpetrate the drug trafficking scheme. She noted the seriousness of the offense and the need for the public to be protected, particularly when flying. She also noted the need to deter others in the future from using their security clearances at airports to help commit crimes.

Bledsoe is the latest in a string of sentencing hearings related to this drug trafficking scheme. To date, the following individuals have been sentenced as part of this case:

  • Daren Cole, previously sentenced to 64 months in prison;
  • Michael Langdon, previously sentenced to 60 months in prison; and
  • Antonio Beckwith, previously sentenced to 24 months in prison.

Two other defendants, including the leader of the conspiracy, are set to be sentenced in the coming months.

This case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) by the following agencies: The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). The investigation was assisted by the FBI Anchorage Safe Streets Task Force, the Anchorage Police Department, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the Henderson Police Department, the North Las Vegas Police Department and the Clark County Department of Aviation.
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