2nd former TSA officer pleads guilty in drug case

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2nd former TSA officer pleads guilty in drug case

A former federal officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to attempting to smuggle drugs through Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Richard C. Cook II, 27, of Henry County is the second former Transportation Security Administration officer to plead guilty in the case after Timothy G. Gregory of DeKalb County pleaded guilty Oct. 4, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta said.

According to prosecutors, Cook met with undercover officers posing as drug cartel members on Jan. 11. He was given 3 kilograms of a substance he believed to be heroin and $3,500 in cash. In return, he smuggled the fake heroin through airport security and delivered it to an undercover officer inside the terminal, where he was given another $4,000 in cash, prosecutors said.

Undercover officers carried out a similar operation on Jan. 26, again supplying Cook with fake drugs and paying him a total of $7,500 in cash.

Cook resigned from the TSA in February, but not before recruiting Gregory to participate in the drug smuggling operation. He introduced Gregory to undercover officers and received a $1,000 “finder’s fee,” prosecutors said. Gregory was arrested after being caught in two undercover operations in February and May.

Gregory’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 18, and Cook’s on Jan. 3. Both face a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of $10 million.

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