//Airline employee and his wife charged with running an illegal cash smuggling business

Airline employee and his wife charged with running an illegal cash smuggling business

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

ATLANTA – Bubacarr Drammeh, a Delta Air Line employee, and his wife Matako Drammeh, have been charged with smuggling hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and transporting that money to California.  Bubacarr Drammeh has also been charged with bribing airport employees to get the cash through security.

“Airports are a critical component of our nation’s transportation infrastructure,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “The alleged actions of the Drammehs put all passengers at risk.  We are committed to protecting the integrity of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest airport, from this kind of activity.”

“The Drammehs are charged with allegedly breaching airport security at the busiest airport in the world,” said Ricardo Grave de Peralta, Acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI takes airline safety and security very seriously. We want to thank our various law enforcement partners at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, along with Delta Air Lines whose cooperation provided us with information needed to investigate this case.”

“While halting bulk cash smuggling is an important Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) priority, eliminating a potential vulnerability in airport security may serve a larger contribution to national security and protection of critical infrastructure,” said Homeland Security Investigations Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Nick S. Annan. “This case illustrates HSI’s ongoing commitment to working with our federal, state and local partners to protect public safety. Further, HSI is working with relevant airlines to identify and close potential vulnerabilities, which will ensure other criminal networks are not able to engage in similar activity.”

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court: From approximately November 2016 to September 2, 2017, the Drammehs exploited Bubacarr Drammeh’s status as an airline employee to evade airport security screenings in an effort to smuggle hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash through airport security checkpoints.  Once through security, Bubacarr Drammeh allegedly transported the unscreened bulk cash on passenger flights to California.  Matako Drammeh also took similar trips to California with cash that her husband delivered to her in the airport after he smuggled the cash through security undetected. Together, the Drammehs allegedly took over 50 trips.

In addition to abusing his airline employee status, the indictment also alleges that Bubacarr Drammeh bribed or attempted to bribe airport employees with money to smuggle bulk cash through security.  On September 2, 2017, Bubacarr Drammeh attempted to bring a bag filled with over $140,000 in cash through an employee security checkpoint.  When a screener at the checkpoint found stacks of money in his bag, Bubacarr Drammeh allegedly offered the screener $8,000 in cash in exchange for not reporting the money to the authorities.  Airport security refused and properly contacted law enforcement officers.

On July 24, 2018, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Bubacarr Drammeh, a/k/a John Dimites, a/k/a BoBo, 42, and Matako Drammeh, 38, both of Riverdale, Georgia, charging them with conspiring to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and entering an aircraft and airport area in violation of security requirements. A federal grand jury also charged Bubacarr Drammeh with bribery.

Members of the public are reminded that the Indictment contains only charges.  The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations Division, with assistance from the Atlanta Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan M. Christian is prosecuting the case.