Tag Archives: jfk airport

Man caught at JFK with cocaine concealed inside frozen meat


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of U. S. Customs and Border Protection

An arriving passenger faced some beefed-up security when he allegedly tried to smuggle cocaine through John F. Kennedy International Airport last month.

Yudishtir Maharaj has just come off a flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad on March 20, when U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers stopped him for a baggage inspection, CBP said.

During the search, they found three large packages of meat in his luggage, according to officials. They allegedly discovered white powder inside the meat, which tested positive for cocaine. In total, officers seized 7.35 pounds of the drug, the CBP said.

Maharaj faces federal narcotics smuggling charges and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York, according to CBP.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Police arrest livery driver at JFK for forgery


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Port Authority Police

A livery cab driver was busted at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) with a suspended license and charged with forgery, according to Port Authority Police.

Narinjan Singh, 40 of Michigan, was allegedly sitting inside a Lincoln Town Car bearing livery plates in a no parking zone at the airport about 3 p.m. Wednesday when police asked for his driver’s license. After showing officers his license, they discovered it was suspended, a Port Authority police spokesman said.

An investigation found that Singh’s license for operating a livery cab had been forged, according to the spokesperson.

Singh was arrested and charged with forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and unlicensed operator, police said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Gov. announces measures to address Queens plane noise


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will double its sound monitors and create an office to address soaring noise complaints, under a string of new orders announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday.

“Airport noise is rightly an important concern for residents of Queens, the Bronx and Nassau County,” Cuomo said. “We will listen to local residents and ensure their input is used to make both JFK and LaGuardia airports better neighbors.”

Gripes have been pouring in since the Federal Aviation Administration approved a new flight pattern in 2012 that brought on a barrage of low-flying planes over parts of northeast Queens.

“There have been days I felt so hopeless,” said Susan Carroll, of Flushing. “I get the takeoff. I get the landing. Flushing never gets a break from the airplane noise. We never get any peace.”

Carroll said she lodges so many complaints with the Port Authority’s hotline — at least one a day, since last summer — operators mistake her for an aviation expert.

“I actually cried tears of joy when I heard the news,” she said. “This is tremendous for all of us.”

Within the next few months, the Port Authority will implement a series of new measures that include monitoring flight tracks online, establishing regular roundtables with elected and federal officials, and conducting extensive noise studies.

More portable noise monitors will be placed in communities currently without one, the governor said. And the new noise office’s seven-member staff will collect and review data while responding to community complaints.

“We are committed to working with all communities we operate in to address their concerns, while bringing JFK and LaGuardia airports into the 21st century and maintaining the viability of our airports as major economic engines for the metropolitan region,” Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

JFK seizure nets more than $100K in fake cash


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

A man returning from South America was busted at John F. Kennedy International Airport with more than $100,000 in counterfeit cash after authorities discovered numerous bills hidden inside a diary box.

Marlon Williams Rodriguez Ezeta, 21, arrived at the airport on Feb. 21 on a flight from Lima, Peru when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized the fake money.

During an examination of Rodriguez Ezeta’s luggage, an officer removed a cardboard diary box, sliced it open and found what appeared to be counterfeit U.S. $100 bills, CBP officials said.

A further investigation revealed a total of $121,300 in counterfeit U.S. bills concealed in the diary box, two wallets, one fabric box, and two cloth shoe racks.

Rodriguez Ezeta was arrested and the fake money was seized, according to CBP. The evidence was turned over to the Secret Service.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Renderings show potential vision for LaGuardia Airport’s future


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of Global Gateway Alliance

Though it has faced recent criticism for its outdated look, LaGuardia Airport’s future appears to be modern and functional.

Advocacy group Global Gateway Alliance has released renderings, created by design firm Neoscape, showcasing its vision for the airport’s main terminal, which is slated to get a facelift.

“This comprehensive vision integrates a modern, efficient and innovative design, including the striking all-glass façade, into LaGuardia’s outdated main terminal said Joseph Sitt, founder and chairman of Global Gateway Alliance. “It maximizes the area’s significant space constraints while seamlessly connecting passengers to the city.”

Global Gateway Alliance hopes that by releasing the renderings it will generate excitement for the project and those bidding on the project, will take their ideas into consideration, a spokesperson for the group said.

The newly-designed terminal needs to feature easy access to transportation, including a bus rapid transit stop in front, and a play area, the spokesperson added.

In 2012, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced a $3.6 billion makeover for the airport. The terminal, built in 1964, is set to undergo a series of developments over the next six to 10 years.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, in his State of the State address, this January, said the borough’s airports were in need of care, particularly LaGuardia, which he said was ranked as the worst airport in the country.

Cuomo proposed modernizing LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports by having the state assume management responsibility from the Port Authority.

He is not alone in his negative assessment of the airport.

Vice President Joe Biden, while speaking about infrastructure in Philadelphia last month, said LaGuardia Airport was similar to a “third world country.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

FBI: Laser beam strikes targeting planes increase in NYC airports


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

A crime that can temporarily blind airplane pilots and put air passengers at risk is spiking in New York City airports, authorities said.

Laser beam strikes targeting in-bound planes have increased 39 percent in the city, the FBI said. The number of incidents jumped to 99 in 2013 from 71 in 2012.

Authorities believe youngsters on top of residential roofs are aiming the powerful light beams at airplane cockpits as a prank.

“Laser incidents are often viewed as harmless acts. This couldn’t be further from the truth,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos. “A laser pointed at a plane’s cockpit could blind a pilot and down an aircraft.”

At least 35 pilots have been injured by laser strikes since last December, the FBI said.

In one instance, a JetBlue pilot flying into John F. Kennedy International Airport last December was temporarily blinded for more than a week, the bureau said.

The federal agency is offering up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest and is hoping its regional awareness campaign deters the felony, which is punishable by five years in jail.

“It is important that people understand that this is a criminal act with potentially deadly repercussions,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division.

The pointers can be easily and legally purchased, authorities said, and the beams can travel further than one mile.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 212-384-1000.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens highways, other city infrastructure ‘badly’ in need of repair: report


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons / Jim.henderson

Queens is facing some serious infrastructure challenges, according to a new report.

The Center for an Urban Future found the borough has five of the nine worst maintained highways in the city.

Based on a 10-point scale, where 1 to 5 is considered “poor,” 6 is “fair,” 7 to 8 is “good,” and 9 to 10 is “excellent,” in 2012, the Jackie Robinson Parkway received a surface rating of 5.8, and the Shore Front Parkway, Cross Bay Parkway Route 25A and Route 24 earned a 6.0.

Overall, highway conditions in the borough have been deteriorating, the report said. In 2008, 38 percent of Queens highways were rated “fair” or “poor.” Four years later, 52 percent were in the same shape.

The report, released Tuesday, showed additional infrastructure issues in the borough.

About 30 percent of its streets were in “fair” or “poor” condition.

Other findings showed that Queens New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments have the most deteriorated building façades and roofs, according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspections. Four of the NYCHA complexes in the borough need over $70 million in façade repairs through 2016.

Several of the city’s oldest wastewater treatment plants are in eastern Queens, including Jamaica (1943) and Bowery Bay near Flushing (1939), according to the report.

John F. Kennedy International Airport also needs upgrades due to age.

Its facilities are 40 years old on average, “with 63 percent of cargo space considered ‘non-viable,’ or unfit for modern screening, storage and distribution,” the report said.

Queens was not alone in its infrastructure problems.

The report calculated that New York City needs $47 billion over the next four to five years to bring its “aging infrastructure to a state of good repair.”

It found that a “significant portion” of the city’s bridges, water mains, sewer pipes, school buildings and other important infrastructure is more than 50 years old and “badly” in need of repair.

“New York won’t be able to address every one of the city’s infrastructure vulnerabilities at this time,” said Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future and co-editor of the report. “But if a significant chunk of the city’s critical infrastructure is not brought to a state of good repair in the years ahead, it could seriously undermine the city’s economic competitiveness and quality of life—and lead to substantial long-term costs.”

The aging infrastructure includes 1,000 miles of water mains more than 100 years old; more than 160 bridges across the five boroughs that were built over a century ago; and 6,300 miles of gas mains that are on average, 56 years old.

The report suggests creating new dedicated revenue sources to pay for repairing and modernizing infrastructure.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

JFK baggage handlers accused of taking checks, money orders from mail


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Five John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) baggage handlers, including two Queens men, allegedly stole thousands of dollars worth of checks and money orders that were being sent through overseas mail, officials announced Friday.

The men are accused of taking the money orders and checks, which were bound for Japan, China, Korea, and other places, and depositing them into their own bank accounts. They also allegedly swiped credit cards and used them to buy iPad minis and other electronics from “Best Buy” kiosks at the airport, according to officials.

“Included among the items allegedly stolen from the mail were money orders mailed by a member of the armed services and in another instance, checks intended for child support,” District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Following multiple reports of thefts of credit cards, money orders and checks from U.S. mail, specifically mail being handled by Ground Services International baggage handlers at JFK, a joint investigation was launched by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Port Authority Police Department, according to the district attorney.

The investigation found that between July and February, the five accused baggage handlers allegedly took the checks and money orders, which ranged from $100 to $1,000, and stole the credit cards and used them to make the kiosk purchases. The thefts allegedly totaled more than $27,000, Brown said.

Anthony Austin, 26, of Hollis, Ariel Weaver, 20, of South Ozone Park, and Brooklyn residents Michael Williams, 29, Alexander Fluellen, 29, and Samuel Wright, 31, were arraigned Thursday in Queens Criminal Court on separate criminal complaints in which they are variously charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, petit larceny and forgery, according to prosecutors.

Fluellen, Wright and Weaver were released without bail and Austin was held on $5,000 bail. Williams is being held pending arraignment.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Thursday: Sunny. High near 30. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy this evening, then becoming cloudy after midnight. Low 24. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: The Big Thing at Laughing Devil Comedy Club 

On Thursdays, come to the Laughing Devil Comedy Club as the best of the New York area (and beyond) showcase who will be the next Big Thing. The Big Thing comedians are all great pros on the rise who have been vetted by the club. If anyone kills on The Big Thing, they earn the coveted position of Club Regular – and you will see them again soon. The show also features some special guest headliners. Starts at 8 p.m. at 4738 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City.

De Blasio swipes at Bloomberg over education

Mayor de Blasio took a string of swipes at his predecessor’s education policies Wednesday while vowing to deliver on his promise for significant change to the schools system. Read more: New York Post

Fake cabby busted twice at JFK Airport

A fake cabby was busted twice at JFK Airport Wednesday after allegedly offering rides to unsuspecting passengers, a source said. Read more: New York Post

Prostitution ring busted near Super Bowl Boulevard

Undercover agents say they busted a major sex ring inside an apartment building at 37th Street and 6th Avenue just blocks from Super Bowl Boulevard. Read more: ABC  New York

Faced with criticism, Atlanta mayor slams NYC snow response in tweet

The mayor of Atlanta slammed New York City’s snow removal efforts this week, after a New Yorker mocked the response in Atlanta to a snowstorm that amounted to 3 inches. Read more: CBS New York/AP

NYC female firefighters trying to boost numbers

As a New York City firefighter, Sarinya Srisakul didn’t work with another woman for five years, and when she did, she took pictures because it was so rare. Read more: AP

$150K in counterfeit bills seized from woman’s baggage at JFK


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

A woman returning from Columbia was arrested last month after $150,000 in counterfeit U.S. bills were found in her luggage at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

After arriving on a Dec. 14 flight, Ciara Ryan, 38, was selected by CBP officers for a random baggage examination. They examined her first bag and found a strong odor of glue coming from it. Upon further inspection, the officers discovered alterations to its bottom, and within the alterations were several suspected counterfeit U.S. $100 bills, CBP said.

A black leather satchel that she was also carrying was examined and officers found more suspected counterfeit bills concealed within its lining.

Ryan was arrested and a total of 1,500 counterfeit $100 bills were seized, according to CBP.

She will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Fire breaks out at JFK Airport


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

A fire at a John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport cargo building Tuesday night left more than a dozen people suffering from smoke inhalation, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey said.

The minor trash fire broke out around 7:30 p.m. on the cargo building’s loading bay of cargo building and was out in about 3o minutes, according to the FDNY and Port Authority.

Fourteen people were treated at the scene and four people were taken to the hospital, according to published reports.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, officials said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

JFK Airport reopens after plane skids off icy runway


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

JFK Airport has reopened for arriving and departing flights after icy conditions reportedly caused a plane to skid off a runway early Sunday morning.

The airport suspended flights about 8:30 a.m. due to ice conditions on the runway and reopened about 10:30 a.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said.

A Delta Connection 4100 plane slid into the snow, but there were no reported injuries, according to the New York Daily News.

Residual delays are expected.

JFK’s Terminal 4 adds more retail options


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

More shops are landing at John F. Kennedy International (JFK) Airport’s Terminal 4.

JFKIAT, the management company which operates Terminal 4 announced Monday the opening of three new retail shops, and five additional stores that are scheduled to open in January.

The newly opened stores include Victoria’s Secret, accessories store Bijoux Terner and Bluewire electronics. Opening next month are Michael Kors, Chocolates & More, Time to Fly, which sells a wide variety of Swatch watches and accessories, Metropolitan Museum of Art, which features art-related accessories and unique gifts in conjunction with the Manhattan museum, and Hudson, an upscale, high-tech travel store.

Other recent store openings at the terminal include Solstice, Jo Malone, Kiehl’s, MAC, Coach, Thomas Pink, and an all-new, expanded Duty Free Shop in the center of the retail hall. More retail openings are planned throughout next year.

JFK’s Terminal 4 also has some choice dining options, such as Blue Smoke and the popular burger chain Shake Shack, which opened at the airport this spring.

The terminal currently serves 30 international and domestic airlines with an annual passenger volume of more than 13 million travelers, according to JFKIAT.

Home to anchor tenant Delta, Terminal 4 completed phase one of its expansion in May 2013. Phase two, which will add additional gates on the B Concourse, is expected to be completed in 2015, according to JFKIAT.

“The redevelopment of Terminal 4 to make Delta our anchor tenant has resulted in benefits for all of our airline partners and their travelers. The all-new food and beverage and concession programs have been a great success and brought name brands that help the JFKIAT team fulfill its mission, to continue to improve the customer experience. We look forward to working with all of our retail partners to see even more exciting steps for the terminal in 2014,” said Alain Maca, president of JFKIAT.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

Op-ed: Making Silent Skies a reality


| oped@queenscourier.com

CONGRESSMEMBER JOSEPH CROWLEY

Anyone who lives here in Queens can tell you just how loud and disruptive the noise of airplanes can be. Millions of Americans throughout the country, including those who live in the communities surrounding LaGuardia and JFK Airports are impacted by constant, thunderous engine noise all day long. The sound isn’t merely a nuisance – it disrupts sleep, distracts students in our community’s schools and drowns out the joys of daily life.

The problem of excessive noise from airplanes flying over our communities has always been a hard nut to crack. Planes usually have a limited number of options for approaching and departing from runways. These flight paths can change based on many varying conditions in weather, winds and congestion. Especially in the crowded skies over our densely-populated city, there are precious few places airplanes can fly where they won’t be heard by some community.

But there’s one way to resolve this problem to the benefit of all our communities: make airplanes quieter.

In 2006, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued regulations requiring all new aircraft designs to meet Stage 4 noise standards, which is a considerably lower decibel level than those currently in use. While these new rules were a significant step toward improving the quality of life for those who live near airports, they did not go far enough. The FAA did nothing to make sure airlines would begin to phase out older, louder airplanes or retrofit them with quieter engines.

Last week, I introduced legislation to fix that.

My bill, the Silent Skies Act, will require airlines to begin stocking their fleets with newer, quieter aircraft. In order to introduce quieter planes into the market, the bill mandates that the FAA issue regulations by the end of 2015 forcing airlines to begin updating their fleets to meet Stage 4 noise standards. Fleets will have to be updated at a rate of 25 percent every five years, so that all commercial airplanes meet these quieter standards by no later than 2035.

But, we can’t stop there. We can’t just phase out today’s noisy planes and call it quits. We must push the envelope and try to develop technologies that make airplanes even quieter.

That’s why the Silent Skies Act will also create a fund to encourage research and development into these technologies. It will allow the FAA issue up to $10 million in grants for developing better ways to help meet or exceed Stage 4 noise standards. In return, companies that benefit from the program will be asked to pay the money back, using the profits they made on their new engines.

When talking with my constituents about aircraft noise pollution in our communities, I always say our airports will never be perfect neighbors, but we can certainly make them better ones. The truth is our airports are only getting busier. New York will continue to be a destination for more and more people. And that’s a good thing for our local economy. But, that doesn’t mean our communities need to sacrifice their quality of life.

The Silent Skies Act is just the kind of approach we can take to make life better not just for the residents of Queens, but also for so many other communities near airports around the country.

Crowley represents New York’s 14th Congressional District, stretching from Pelham Bay to Elmhurst.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Woman caught at JFK allegedly smuggling cocaine in hair products


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

A woman flying into JFK Airport from the Dominican Republic last month tried to sneak into the country with more than six pounds of cocaine concealed in hair products, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials said.

CBP officers were inspecting the baggage of Erika Rodriguez de los Santos, who had just arrived on a flight from Santo Domingo on November 18, and found five hair product containers that felt unusually heavy. After investigating further, they discovered the “containers produced an oil-like substance that tested positive for cocaine.”  The drugs weighed a total of 6.27 pounds.

Rodriguez was arrested for the import of narcotics and faces federal narcotics smuggling charges, according to CBP.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES