Drug bust at Boeing aircraft plant in Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:42pm EDT

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PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Thirty-seven people were arrested on Thursday in a drug bust at a Boeing plant in Pennsylvania that makes military aircraft, with the charges including selling a potent prescription painkiller, officials said.

Authorities said all but one of those charged is a current or former Boeing employee.

U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said 23 people were charged with selling the prescription painkiller Oxycontin and other illegal drugs and 14 were charged with attempted possession of various drugs for trying to buy them.

"This investigation and prosecution focused not only on the sellers, but also on the users because of the critical role that these employees play in manufacturing military aircraft," Memeger said.

Another person was expected to be arrested, officials said.

The drug bust at the plant in Ridley Park, a suburb of Philadelphia, took place early on Thursday morning.

There was no evidence that the integrity of the work on any aircraft had been compromised, Memeger said.

A Boeing spokesman had no immediate comment.

(Reporting by Dave Warner; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton)

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