A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer has been charged with smuggling close to 40 pounds of cocaine inside of his carry-on luggage at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport earlier this year.
Forty-year-old Ivan Van Beverhoudt—who was stationed in the U.S. Virgin Islands and tasked with inspecting flights to prevent the importation of controlled substances—pleaded not guilty on Monday to federal charges relating to the importation of cocaine, possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
Van Beverhoudt was traveling from St. Thomas to Baltimore with a stop in Atlanta on January 10 when CBP officers with a K-9 handler and dog began inspecting passengers exiting his flight. The dog alerted officers to Van Beverhoudt’s two carry-on bags and he was escorted to an interview room where he claimed he was on his way to see a doctor in Baltimore.
Inside of the bags, officers discovered a combined 16 packages containing a substance that field-tested positive for cocaine and weighed a total of 17.8 kilograms or 39.2 pounds.
Van Beverhoudt was carrying his U.S. Government-issued weapon at the time, permitting him to bypass normal airport screening as a law enforcement officer “flying while armed.”
“This officer allegedly abused his office to engage in criminal conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak in a statement accompanying a news release from the US Attorney’s Office in Atlanta on Tuesday. “Federal law enforcement officers take an oath to uphold the law. When an officer violates that oath, he or she will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Last year, a Colombian man was arrested at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport after attempting to smuggle 35 pounds of liquid cocaine valued at over $400,000 inside of shampoo bottles contained in his checked luggage.
Source: Read Full Article