An Atlanta federal custom’s officer based in the city’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was arrested Dec. 16 along with 13 other people and charged with gun smuggling and drug trafficking, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced on Dec. 16.
According to CNN.com, Devon Samuels, 45, a customs officer of Stockbridge, Ga. was apprehended by authorities on Dec. 16 and charged with obtaining payoffs from undercover agents to smuggle firearms and money, allegedly flashing his badge to thwart security screenings. Authorities conducted five search warrants throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area as part of the investigation deemed “Operation Rude Beast.”
The operation has resulted in three indictments, all of which were unsealed Dec. 16. .
Authorities seized over 700,000 Ecstasy pills from a stash house in Chamblee, Ga., according to CBS News’ Atlanta affiliate. The Department of Justice say the drugs hold a street value of $2.8 million.
“The Drug Enforcement Administration is dedicated to working with federal , state and local law enforcement, not only to rid the streets of drugs, but to also ensure the integrity of those who dedicate their lives to protecting the citizens of the United States,” DEA Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Rodney G. Benson said in a statement. “Today’s arrests show the continuing efforts by law enforcement to combat corruption and dismantle a major drug organization.”
According to CNN, one indictment states that on Nov. 3, an undercover officer disguised as a money launderer gave Samuels nearly $22,000 supposedly from the sale of drugs.
Samuels, with assistance from another associate, illegally utilized his badge to bypass security screenings to carry the money through the airport to Jamaica. The indictment says that once in Jamaica, Samuels passed the money to a Jamaican undercover officer, posing as a drug trafficker.
The customs officer also faces charges for accepting $50,000 in alleged drug money on Nov. 9 from another undercover officer. He and his wife, Keisha Jones, 30, traveled to Jamaica to pass the money to undercover Jamaican officers. Reports reveal that he executed the transfer in the same fashion as the Nov. 3 incident. His wife faces similar charges.
Samuels has also been charged for accepting drug money and five guns on Nov. 30. The indictment says he allegedly accessed government computers to see if he and his cohorts were being investigated.
Thirteen people were named in the second indictment on gun and drug trafficking charges. In a third indictment, Samuels, Carlton Ferguson, 46, of Decatur, Ga. And Dahlia McLaren Ferguson, 29, also of Decatur, were named in connection with conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and immigration violations.