AN AIRLINE maintenance worker has stumbled upon $570,000 worth of cocaine that was stashed in the nose of an American Airlines passenger jet.
A spokesman for Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office said the discovery was made after the plane arrived in Miami from Bogota, Colombia, on Sunday, the Associated Press reported.
It had been flagged for maintenance after arrival and sent to Tulsa International Airport, where American Airlines has a maintenance base.
While an airline employee was working on the plane’s nose gear, he noticed what looked like a clump of insulation, or a bricklike object.
He called the sheriff’s office to report the suspicious find.
After investigating the discovery, authorities confirmed it was seven bricks of cocaine, totalling about 14 kilograms. They said the haul was worth about $572,000.
The sheriff’s office spokesman, Justin Green, said the case has been turned over to the US Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami.
The discovery follows an unrelated case in which a former flight attendant and beauty queen was accused of smuggling 27kg of cocaine through Los Angeles International Airport and then making a dramatic dash to escape.
Marsha Gay Reynolds, 32, who worked for US airline JetBlue, pleaded guilty last month to wheeling a suitcase stacked with drugs into LAX airport on March 18 last year.
Authorities said she flung off her high heels and bolted after being flagged for a random security screening, running down an upward-moving escalator and out of the terminal.
A US court heard Reynolds took a JetBlue flight the next day to New York, where she surrendered to authorities days later.
Reynolds, a former Jamaican beauty queen and New York University track athlete, faces 10 years in jail.