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Man Sentenced for Illegal Transportation of Hazardous Materials

On July 14, 2010, in U.S. District Court, Puerto Rico, Pedro Rafael De Peña De La Cruz was sentenced to six months incarceration, followed by five months and 29 days supervised release and ordered to pay $25,000 restitution for illegally transporting hazardous materials.  

The investigation was initiated as a result of a referral from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) following Mr. De Peña De La Cruz' attempt to fly to the Dominican Republic with a checked bag containing approximately 20 pounds of mercury.  A Transportation Security Administration screener discovered a discharge of mercury from Mr. De Peña De La Cruz' checked bag, which prompted the evacuation of several passenger terminals for 8 hours and the diversion of numerous commercial airline flights.  Mr. Peña De La Cruz' did not inform airport security personnel that he was transporting mercury prior to it having been discovered.  DOT regulations classify mercury as a hazardous material. 

This investigation was conducted jointly with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and with technical assistance from the Federal Aviation Administration.