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CONTACT:     Sgt. Belinda Nettles 
(424) 646-5591

WESTCHESTER AND INGLEWOOD ROTARY CLUBS RECOGNIZE AIRPORT POLICE DETECTIVE  

(Los Angeles, California – May 7, 2014) Los Angeles Airport Police Detective Claudio Cruz, assigned to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) LAX Narcotics Task Force (LAXNTF), will be recognized for his exceptional performance today at the “Guns and Hoses” Police and Fire Appreciation Luncheon hosted by Inglewood and Westchester Rotary Clubs at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles, at 11:30 a.m.

Detective Cruz, a 23-year veteran, is being honored for his service and dedication to the aviation community, which has set him apart in the performance of his duties during the past year. His hard work, professionalism and commitment have been credited with the overall success of the Airport Police Division’s participation in the LAXNTF, one of the first units of its kind in the United States.

The LAXNTF is comprised of DEA agents and detectives from the Los Angeles Airport Police Division, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. LAXNTF is partially responsible for the apprehension and interception of domestic drug and money couriers at LAX. The LAXNTF interdicts numerous couriers attempting to transport large numbers of illegal drug proceeds through the airport, in an attempt to disrupt and dismantle the financial infrastructure that is paramount to drug trafficking organizations.

Detective Cruz is also collaterally assigned to the Los Angeles Inter-Agency Multi-Jurisdictional Police Apprehension Crime Team (LA IMPACT). He holds a unique position in that he is also a deputized federal DEA Task Force Officer.

During federal fiscal year 2013, LAXNTF, in partnership with LA IMPACT, seized over $7.2 million in U.S. currency, 320 pounds of marijuana, 4.6 kilograms of cocaine, and seven kilograms of heroin. In addition, 19 arrests were made. Detective Cruz has conducted lengthy investigations, served multiple search warrants, conducted numerous interviews, and prepared cases for the City Attorney’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office for prosecution and asset-forfeiture proceedings. These cases led to the recovery and seizure of millions in U.S. currency and property, and resulted in the arrests and convictions of numerous suspects.

In July 2013, Detective Cruz was the lead case agent in charge of an investigation that resulted in an arrest and seizure of two pounds of marijuana, two kilograms of cocaine, 23,500 scheduled prescription drug pills, and $375,644 in U.S. currency.

“Detective Cruz is a true testament of someone who is dedicated to making a difference in the community he serves,” Chief of Airport Police Patrick Gannon said. “His commitment to partnership and team work has made a tangible difference in protecting our communities from drug infiltration.”

The Los Angeles Airport Police Division is the nation's premier aviation law-enforcement agency with over 1,100 specially trained police officers, security officers, and civilian staff protecting Los Angeles International, LA/Ontario International, and Van Nuys airports.


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