37 people were arrested today in the culmination of a four-year FBI investigation of employee prescription drug possession and distribution at a Boeing plant in Ridley Park.
"Boeing came to us with information that they had suspected drug activity occurring on their property," said U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. The admission prompted an extended undercover operation.
"Many defendants distributed drugs to fellow employees or were purchasing drugs and using them at work," Memeger said. "During the course of the investigation, Boeing officials, who were fully cooperative, took safety precautions to assure the quality and safety of airplanes being manufactured."
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In an indictment unsealed today, 23 individuals are charged with illegal distribution of drugs including fentanyl, oxycodone, Xanax, Suboxone, Adderall and Ambien. In addition, 14 are charged by information with a misdemeanor offense of attempted possession for buying what was believed to have been a controlled substance from an FBI cooperator, but was actually a placebo.
"The investigation didn't cover one prescription drug abuse ring, instead, a number of buyers and sellers were involved," Memeger said. The activities' "profuse" nature made the case harder to pull together and was the reason the indictment did not include conspiracy charges.
Memeger said that he was not in a position to comment about the employees' exact position, but that some of them did manufacture airplanes. The airplanes they worked on have not been linked to any accidents or recalls, but the investigation is ongoing.