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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Atlanta Man Sentenced For Smuggling Cocaine From Caribbean Through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport

ATLANTA – Lincoln E. Son, 38, of Atlanta, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Orinda D. Evans, to serve 16 years, 8 months in federal prison on charges of conspiring to import cocaine into the United States aboard international commercial flights.

As a member of a Caribbean-based drug-trafficking organization, Son recruited Delta employees at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to pick suitcases filled with cocaine from checked baggage ramps, bypass U.S. Customs inspection, and smuggle the luggage off airport property. 

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “Putting a stop to the use of commercial airlines for smuggling is important, not only because narcotics themselves are a threat to the health and safety of our citizens, but also because airline smuggling of any kind poses a threat to the security of aviation in our country.  Today’s sentence should serve as a reminder that those who are caught in international smuggling activity of any kind will pay a heavy price.”

“The integrity of our nation’s airport security systems is of paramount importance to Homeland Security Investigations,” said Brock D. Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Atlanta. “The special agents HSI has assigned to Hartsfield-Jackson have a keen eye for spotting criminal conspiracies like this one that seek to exploit what they believe are weaknesses in the system. They will not succeed on our watch.”          

“Investigations and results like these are the results of extraordinary teamwork,” noted Atlanta’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Director, Jack Killorin.

Son was sentenced to 16 years, 8 months in prison to be followed by 5 years of supervised release.  Son was convicted of these charges on October 26, 2012, upon his plea of guilty.

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: Lincoln Son, a native of the U.S. Virgin Islands, was part of a Caribbean-based drug-trafficking organization. In February 2010, the U.S. Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations - Atlanta, received information indicating that a Caribbean-based drug trafficking organization was smuggling large amounts of cocaine into Atlanta, using suitcases laden with cocaine placed on board Delta Air Lines flights from St. Lucia, St. Maarten, and Trinidad and Tobago.  Once the flights arrived at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Delta ramp workers intercepted the cocaine-laden suitcases, circumvented U.S. Customs inspection, and smuggled them off airport property. 

HSI identified Son, who had recruited the Delta personnel to intercept the cocaine laden suitcases, smuggle them off airport property, and deliver them to Son.  In February 2012, Son was indicted on charges of conspiring to import cocaine, conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, and for attempted possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.  Son entered his plea of guilty to all three charges on October 26, 2012.

This case was investigated by Special Agents of the U.S. Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, together with Delta Air Lines Security personnel.

Special Assistant United States Attorney Jane Swift Borucki, who is a Gwinnett County Assistant District Attorney assigned to Atlanta’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, prosecuted the case.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta recommends parents and children learn about the dangers of drugs at the following web site:

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Information Office at or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Updated April 8, 2015