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Tag: Drugs

FBI: Seattle Cop Smuggled Massive Amounts of Marijuana to Baltimore

Photo of marijuana by Steve Neavling.

Photo of marijuana by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI busted a Seattle police officer who authorities say helped smuggling hundreds of pounds of marijuana to Baltimore.

Alex Chapackdee, a 17-year veteran of the force, was arrested and was among four men charged with conspiring to distribute marijuana, the Associated Press reports. The 44-year-old office is the brother-in-;aw of the group’s alleged ringleader.

“While (it is) always disturbing to investigate one of our own, I am proud of the detectives and commanders who worked diligently on this case,” Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said in a written statement. “Officer Chapackdee’s conduct is disgraceful and disappointing. While he will have his due process in the courts, I hope these charges demonstrate to our community that SPD will not tolerate corrupt behavior in our ranks.”

According to the FBI, Chapackdee drove marijuana from Seattle to Baltimore in his recreational vehicle several times last fall. The FBI said he deposited nearly $20,000 in cash into his bank account.

Chapackdee, who is on unpaid leave, also is accused of accepting $10,000 a month from his brother-in-law to alert him to any law enforcement investigations and to keep an eye on marijuana grow operations,

Chapackdee’s attorney, David Gehrke, declined to comment on the allegations but said the charges have been difficult for him and his family, which includes a wife and four children.

“This is a huge fall from grace, an embarrassment,” Gehrke said.

The investigation was prompted by a confidential source.

Weekend Series on Crime: Vicious Los Zetas Organization

Border Patrol Agents Find Marijuana, Manure Stuffed into Coffin inside Hearse

Marijuana was found inside this coffin. Photo via Border Patrol.

Marijuana was found inside this coffin. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents stopped a hearse and found marijuana and manure inside a closed casket over the weekend.

Instead of finding a body inside the casket, Willcox Border Patrol agents in Arizona discovered 67 pounds pounds of marijuana and manure that had been used to mask the smell.

A 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of drug smuggling.

Agents became suspicious when the driver of the hearse gave inconsistent stories. Despite the manure, a canine sniffed out the drugs.

Border Patrol agents estimated the marijuana had a street value of more than $33,000.

President Trump Is Wrong about Border Wall Fixing Drug Problem, Experts Say

Border Port of Entry.

Border Port of Entry.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s claim that a wall will stop illegal drugs from coming across the Southwest border ignores a key fact about the international trade.

Most drugs that cross the border are primarily transported into the U.S. through existing border checkpoints using cars and trucks, the Washington Post reports, citing experts on the drug trade. 

Nevertheless, Trump continues to tout the wall as a solution to stemming the flow of drugs into the U.S.

“The Wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth (and many others)!” the president tweeted this week. “If the wall is not built, which it will be, the drug situation will NEVER be fixed the way it should be!”

Mexican drug cartels “transport the bulk of their drugs over the Southwest border through ports of entry (POEs) using passenger vehicles or tractor trailers,” the DEA writes in its 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment. “The drugs are typically secreted in hidden compartments when transported in passenger vehicles or comingled with legitimate goods when transported in tractor trailers.”

Drug policy experts say it’s a false narrative to suggest drug smugglers primarily run drugs across remote stretches of the border.

“Smuggling drugs in cars is far easier than carrying them on the backs of people through a really harsh desert terrain,” said Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “The higher the fence will be, the more will go through ports of entry.”

Inspector General: DEA Seizes Money without Ties to Criminal Investigations

Drugs and cash seized in Portland.

Drugs and cash seized in Portland.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA is seizing massive amounts of cash from people who are not connected to a criminal investigation, according to a scathing report by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

In the 74-page report released Wednesday, the inspector general cautioned that the DEA may be violating the civil liberties of people whose is seized, the Washington Post reports.

The inspector general concluded the DEA was unable to demonstrate how asset forfeiture practices benefit criminal investigations.

The Post cites one example:

The DEA took more than $70,000 from a piece of checked luggage without doing any more investigation or attempting to question the owner at the airport — instead simply putting a receipt in the bag and sending it on to its final destination.

“Even accepting that the circumstances surrounding the discovery of this large volume of concealed currency justified law enforcement suspicion and seizure, we find it troubling that the DEA would make an administrative forfeiture without attempting to advance an investigation, especially considering that the DEA had opportunities to contact the potential owners of the currency instead of simply providing written notice of the seizure,” the inspector general wrote.

Des Moines Register: ATF Tobacco Investigation Schemes Is ‘Highly Questionable’

atf badgeBy Editorial Board
The Des Moines Register

It’s getting harder and harder to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

First there was the scandal involving federal agents who helped route guns to Mexican drug cartels. Then it was revealed that law enforcement officials nationwide have routinely abused forfeiture laws to seize the property of law-abiding citizens.

Now there are signs that agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives used highly questionable — arguably illegal – cigarette sales in order to fund a secret bank account used to pay informants.

And we’re not talking about a handful of rogue agents raising a few thousand dollars. The evidence points to tens of millions of dollars being raised by law enforcement officials through the same schemes used by the criminals they were supposed to be apprehending.

The operation, detailed in a recent report from the New York Times, wasn’t authorized by the Justice Department, the agency under which the ATF operates, and that appears to have been by design. It gave agents access to a bank account that, because it was off the books, wasn’t subject to the usual level of oversight.

The scheme itself was built on a complex series of transactions, some of which involved the sale and shipment of water and snacks disguised as cigarettes.

To read more click here. 

Weekend Series on Crime History: Underwater Tunnel Used to Smuggle Drugs Into U.S.

DEA Identifies Where Mexican Cartels Are Operating in the U.S.

Map of cartels identified by the DEA.

Map of cartels identified by the DEA.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA identified Mexican cartels that operate within the United States and provided a map to show where the drug gangs are wielding influence.

In Texas, for example, the DEA has identified the following cartels operating within the state: the Sinaloa, Gulf, Juarez, the Knights Templar, Beltran-Levya, Jalisco and the Zetas.

But Texas is far from alone. Most states have links to cartels, which can be very violent and supply dangerous drugs.

The areas with the highest concentration of cartel involvement are California, Texas, New York and New England.

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