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.