Freight airline Florida West International Airlines and three cargo executives face charges they conspired to fix prices on shipments from Colombia to the United States, including peak season surcharges for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day flower imports.
A federal grand jury returned the indictment this week against the Miami-based carrier, one of its executives and two executives with a competing carrier, expanding a global antitrust investigation into a specialized wing of the air freight business.
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The indictment charges former Florida West vice president Rodrigo Hernan Hidalgo with conspiring to fix rates with Luis Augusto Afanador and Jaime Lara Rueda Sr., who operate out of Colombia.
The U.S. Justice Department said in a statement they conspired “to fix and coordinate certain components of air cargo shipments from Colombia to Miami.
“Among the components fixed were peak season surcharges imposed before Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, when imports of fresh flowers increase,” the department said.
Hidalgo has been indicted before and faces separate charges for fixing surcharges on shipments sent after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.