ATLANTA—Two now-former TSA officers who conspired and attempted to smuggle drugs through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport security have been sentenced by United States District Judge Charles Pannell. Today, Richard C. Cook, II, 28, of Henry County, Georgia, was sentenced to 11 years in prison; and on January 4, 2013, Timothy G. Gregory, 26, of DeKalb County, Georgia, was sentenced to six years in prison.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “The defendants abused
their positions as TSA officers to smuggle drugs through the world’s busiest
airport. The citizens of this district deserve better than Mr. Cook and Mr.
Gregory—they deserve officers who obey the laws that they are entrusted to
enforce. These significant prison sentences should serve as stinging reminders
that corruption will not be tolerated.”
James E. Ward, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Homeland Security,
Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Atlanta Field Office stated, “Let today’s
sentencing demonstrate to the public that federal and local law enforcement
agencies stand committed to eradicate corruption, particularly among the few who
choose to tarnish their badge and oath of office. DHS-OIG and its law
enforcement partners will continue to hold such shameless individuals
Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated,
“As officers of TSA, these two defendants abandoned their positions of trust,
and today, they will answer for their actions. The FBI remains committed in
working with its various law enforcement partners in bringing forward for
prosecutions all matters concerning public corruption.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information
presented in court: Beginning in January 2012, on multiple occasions, Cook and
Gregory misused their positions as officers with the Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) to smuggle what they believed to be illegal drugs through
Atlanta’s airport security.
The investigation began after authorities received information from various
sources that Cook was willing to use his position to smuggle contraband into
secure facilities. Based on that information, federal law enforcement officers
initiated an investigation into Cook’s activities. Specifically, on January 11,
2012, Cook met with two undercover officers, both of whom were posing as drug
cartel members. During the meeting, the undercover officers provided Cook with
three kilograms of fake drugs, which Cook believed to be heroin, and $3,500 in
cash, which was partial payment to Cook to smuggle the drugs through airport
security. Thereafter, Cook, who was wearing his TSA uniform, went to the
airport, transported the drugs through the TSA security checkpoint, and
delivered the drugs to an undercover officer inside the terminal. Cook was then
paid another $4,000 in cash, which was the remaining payment for smuggling the
drugs through security.
Similarly, on January 26, 2012, Cook met with an undercover officer before
reporting for his TSA shift at the airport. During this meeting, the undercover
officer provided Cook with three kilograms of fake drugs that Cook believed to
be heroin and $4,000 in cash, which was partial payment to Cook to smuggle the
drugs through airport security. Thereafter, Cook, who was wearing his TSA
uniform, went to the airport, transported the drugs through the TSA security
checkpoint, and delivered the drugs to another undercover officer in the
terminal. The undercover officer then paid Cook $3,500, which was the remaining
portion of Cook’s fee for smuggling the drugs through security. In both sting
operations, Cook believed that he was smuggling heroin through airport
In February 2012, Cook resigned from the TSA. However, Cook recruited TSA
Officer Gregory to assist with the drug smuggling operation. Cook introduced
Gregory to the undercover officers who were posing as drug traffickers and
received a referral fee of $1,000.
On February 24, 2012, an undercover officer provided Gregory with five
kilograms of fake cocaine and $5,000 in cash. Thereafter, Gregory, who was
wearing his TSA uniform, went to the airport, transported the cocaine through
the TSA security checkpoint, and delivered the drugs to another undercover
officer in the terminal.
On May 4, 2012, undercover officers provided Gregory with 10 kilograms of
fake cocaine, which Gregory had agreed to transport from Atlanta to Commerce,
Today, Cook was sentenced to 11 years in prison, to be followed by five years
of supervised release, and fined $16,000. On January 4, 2013, Gregory was
sentenced to six years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised
release, and fined $5,000.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the
Department of Homeland Security-Office of the Inspector General, and the United
States Marshals Service.
Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey W. Davis prosecuted this case.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta recommends parents and children learn
about the dangers of drugs at the following website: www.justthinktwice.com.