News and Press Releases

Airport Employee Arrested on Drug conspiracy Charges

January 5, 2012

James L. Santelle, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced  that  a federal  grand  jury  indicted Amilcar  Zapata Jr.  (age: 44)  of  Milwaukee  for conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B), and 846, and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2.  If convicted he faces a minimum of 5 years in prison to 40 years in prison, a 5 million fine, 4 years to life on supervised release and a $100 special assessment.

Mr. Zapata was arrested at General Mitchell Field where he was an employee for the last 21 years. According to information released in court, Zapata brought backpacks full of United States currency into the airport. Zapata used his position to by-pass security and deliver the currency to couriers hired by the Spanish Cobras street gang. The deliveries would take place in restrooms after the couriers had gone through their security screening process. The currency was taken by couriers out of the country.  

Mr. Zapata is the most recent arrest in a long term federal investigation into heroin trafficking by members of the Spanish Cobras street gang.  So far 29 defendants have been  indicted for conspiracy to distribute heroin. The current indictments have included two heroin overdose deaths and two officer related shootings.   

Participating in the arrest at the airport were special agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, members of the Milwaukee High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area gang task force, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office and General Mitchell International Airport Administration.

The public is cautioned that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which time the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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