A Homeland Security officer was just busted trying to smuggle nearly 40 pounds of cocaine through a Georgia airport.
40-year-old Ivan Van Beverhoudt, a sworn officer with the Department of Homeland Security Customs & Border Protection (CBP), was making a stopover at the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport when a K-9 officer raised an alert over his carry-on bags. Like other CBP agents with government-issued firearms, Van Beverhoudt was allowed to bypass normal airline screening, but a police dog just happened to get a whiff of his bags while inspecting other passengers on the same plane.
Airport security asked the officer to wait in the jetway until the flight cleared. During this time, another officer observed that he was “pacing back and forth in the jetway in a nervous manner,” according to CNN. After being escorted to an interview room, Van Beverhoudt told officers that he was on his way from the US Virgin Islands, where he was stationed, to Baltimore. The CBP officer said that he was going to see a doctor about chest pains, but could not provide the doctor's name or explain why the doctor would see him without an appointment.
The K-9 alerted to the presence of drugs in the officer's two carry-on bags for a second time, prompting airport security to search the bags. Inside, they found 16 bricks of cocaine, weighing 17.9 kilograms (39.4 pounds).
Van Beverhoudt was arrested and charged with importing cocaine into the mainland US, possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, and the possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. The CBP officer was indicted by a grand jury on February 4th, and pleaded not guilty to all charges.
“Van Beverhoudt allegedly abused his position as US Customs and Border Protection Officer to smuggle drugs through the world’s busiest airport,” said Ronnie Tippett, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General's Acting Special Agent in Charge, in a statement. “The public deserves better — they deserve officers who obey the laws that they are entrusted to enforce.”
In his job at Homeland Security, Van Beverhoudt was tasked with inspecting flights in order to prevent illegal drugs from being smuggled into the US. The federal government has spent billions of dollars trying to fight illegal drug smuggling, but the massive profitability of the black market has convinced many crooked cops to try to get rich by abusing their positions.
Just last month, the Drug Enforcement Agency arrested one of their “model” agents for stealing millions of dollars in illegal drug money, which he used to buy houses, cars, and exotic gifts. That same month, the DEA busted another of its own agents for conspiring to import tons of cocaine from Puerto Rico to New York.
“A badge and a gun should be used for protecting the public, not for bypassing security to enable criminal activity,” said Robert Hammer, acting Special Agent in Charge. “Corruption in law enforcement undermines the public’s trust and makes all of our jobs harder.”