Two men — including a former cargo clerk at Los Angeles International Airport — were arrested today on federal charges of conspiring to import and distribute methamphetamine and cocaine into the St. Louis area on commercial airlines.
Poe Purcell and Chalamar Tuipelehake were indicted, along with Francis Frost, on July 8 by a federal grand jury on multiple felony counts, including conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of meth, conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, and conspiracy to enter secured area of airport under false pretenses.
Frost remains at large, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The indictment alleges Purcell — who worked for American Airlines — and Tuipelehake arranged for drug traffickers to transport illegal controlled substances from LAX on commercial flights using the cargo clerk’s position to avoid detection and facilitate the transport.
Frost’s role involved retrieving the suitcases containing the drugs, prosecutors allege.
Purcell was arrested at LAX and Tuipelehake was taken into custody at his Bellflower home, both without incident, according to the FBI.
The investigation is being handled by the FBI in St. Louis.