Mike Carter reports: Veteran Seattle police Officer Alex Chapackdee is accused of helping his brother-in-law and others smuggle at least 100 kilograms of marijuana to the East Coast. In return, Chapackdee was paid $10,000 a month, charges allege.
Federal prosecutors will ask that a suspended Seattle police officer charged with being part of a large-scale East Coast marijuana smuggling ring be held in jail pending trial.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida set a detention hearing Friday for Alex Chapackdee, who faces a mandatory-minimum five-year federal prison sentence — and perhaps up to 40 years — for his role in allegedly transporting hundreds of pounds of marijuana from Washington to Baltimore then driving back with boxes of cash. The court also could impose a fine of up to $5 million if he’s found guilty.
Chapackdee, a veteran Seattle police officer, appeared briefly in U.S. District Court in Seattle Monday afternoon along with three co-defendants named in a 15-page complaint unsealed Monday. He was arrested last Friday and suspended from duty without pay.
More than two dozens shocked friends and family members crowded Tsuchida’s courtroom during the brief hearing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Vince Lombardi said the serious allegations and significant penalty prompted him to seek detention for all four defendants. Read the rest of this entry »
A large number of historical artifacts, including the head of a 2,000-year-old Hermes statue, have been seized during an operation by the Sivas Police Department Directorate of Anti-smuggling and Organized Crime Branch.
Following three months of preparation, the police department simultaneously raided various addresses in villages and districts of the Central Anatolian province of Sivas, as well as in Nevşehir, Adıyaman and Kayseri on Jan. 13, and discovered historical artifacts. Read the rest of this entry »
…We’re told the phone was smuggled out of a Foxconn factory in China … where the majority of iPhone models are manufactured. The owner of the phone says the smuggler is his friend — an ex-employee — who worked in Foxconn’s hardware department designing the outer casing for the new model…(read more)
Chinese authorities have uncovered a tunnel from the mainland to Hong Kong, apparently built by smugglers.
The tunnel, with concrete walls and interior lighting, started under a garage near the city of Shenzhen and stretched for 40m (130ft) under a river and into reed-beds in Hong Kong.
The authorities believe gangs intended to use it to import mobile phones and other electrical goods into Hong Kong.
The semi-autonomous zone has different tariffs to the mainland.
The smugglers could make huge profits by avoiding border fees and taxes.
Reason TV’s latest “Don’t Cops Have Better Things To Do”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, (and Explosives!) has been fighting cigarette smuggling by smuggling cigarettes. Agents buy smokes in low-tax states like Virginia and sell them in high-tax states like New York. The sting operations are supposed to help build cases against smugglers, but ATF is cashing in too.
By law ATF may keep booty to cover “operational expenses.” As if the line between law breakers and law enforcers wasn’t blurry enough already, a recent inspector general report highlights a “serious lack of oversight” at the agency. Seems that confidential informants have been allowed pocket, not expenses, but profits amounting to millions of dollars. ATF agents have “misused” $162 million in sting operation profits and “lost track” of $420 million cigarettes. (Yes, this is the same ATF that lost more than a thousand weapons during the infamous Fast and Furious fiasco.) And if you’re having trouble distinguishing the “good” guys from the “bad” guys, just remember: The “good” guys are the ones who get taxpayer-funded salaries and pensions.
But hey, don’t federal agents have better things to do! Well, ATF’s own most-wanted list features men suspected of crimes like murder, so yeah, agents could focus more time busting violent criminals. Then again, cigarette smuggling is much more lucrative.
The timing of this couldn’t be worse for the ATF, either.
Hong Kong customs seized a record haul of cocaine at its international airport this week, foiling two passengers who tried to smuggle 58 million Hong Kong dollars (US$7.5 million) worth of the drug in their luggage.
One 35-year-old man arrived Tuesday from São Paulo, Brazil, after transiting in Beijing with 48 kilograms (105 pounds) of cocaine wrapped in quilts inside his suitcases, the largest amount ever seized from an individual passenger in the city’s history. A 22-year-old female traveler on the same flight was also discovered to be carrying 12 kilograms of cocaine inside false compartments of four backpacks stowed in her suitcase. They two were arrested and charged with drug trafficking.
Not including Tuesday’s cases, customs officers have seized more than HK$50 million worth of cocaine at the airport this year, found sewn into jacket linings or stuffed into shopping bags and laptop cases. On Monday, airport customs officers found about HK$1.92 million worth of the drug inside layers of silicone rubber, which were in turn tucked inside handbags, two cushions and a wall map shipped by air mail from Uruguay.