12:48pm

Thu September 29, 2011
Around the Nation

Dozens Arrested In Drug Raid At Pa. Boeing Plant

More than three dozen people have been charged in a prescription drug sweep that included a raid on a Boeing plant near Philadelphia that makes military helicopters.

The arrests happened Thursday morning at the 5,400-employee plant in Ridley Park.

Federal authorities say 37 people were charged with illegal distribution of a prescription drug. All but one is an employee or former employee of the plant.

U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger said the arrests are the result of a four-year undercover investigation. He said Boeing contacted authorities to report "suspicions that drug activity was occurring on their property."

Undercover agents purchased the drugs — Oxycodone and Xanax — or sold others placebos.

Memeger said the Justice Department focused not only on the people selling the drugs, but also on the employees who used them because they play a critical role in making aircraft used by the U.S. military.

Workers at the plant build the H-47 Chinook helicopter and the V-22 Osprey. The plant is part of the Defense, Space and Security unit of the Chicago-based Boeing Co. It is also the headquarters for its Rotorcraft division.

An official with Boeing's Military Aircraft division at the plant declined to comment. A message left for a defense unit spokesman was not immediately returned.

NPR's Carrie Johnson contributed to this report, which contains material from The Associated Press.

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