A veteran Seattle police officer has been arrested and charged with smuggling over 100 kilos of pot to the East Coast. Federal prosecutors have accused Officer Alex Chapackdee with transporting hundreds of pounds of pot from Washington to Baltimore, and returning with boxes full of cash. The officer has reportedly been under FBI surveillance since last year, after a public corruption case was opened alongside the drug smuggling case.
According to the charging documents, Chapackdee has been accused of assisting a drug trafficking ring run by his brother-in-law, Tuan Van Le. The officer allegedly provided Le with inside “information on arrests and investigations that may be connected” to the smuggling operation. In addition, Le allegedly paid the cop $10,000 a month “to keep an eye on all of Tuan Van Le’s marijuana grow houses.” The prosecutors also charge Chapackdee with “regularly smuggling large amounts of marijuana” from Washington to the East Coast. Le allegedly paid his brother-in-law $15,000 for each of these trips.
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole released a statement this Monday addressing Chapackdee’s “disgraceful and disappointing” conduct. “While always disturbing to investigate one of our own, I am proud of the detectives and commanders who worked diligently on this case. 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.”
David Gehrke, Chapackdee’s attorney, said that his client will fight the allegations. Gehrke condemned the “dark ages” federal justice system for continuing to prosecute marijuana crimes even though “it’s legal to use and possess in every state on the West Coast.”
Chapackdee faces a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison if convicted, but could be sentenced to as much as 40 years. The cop could also be fined up to $5 million by the court if found guilty.