A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was charged with smuggling close to 40 pounds of cocaine inside of his carry-on luggage. The incident took place at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport earlier this year. The officer pleaded not guilty.
The officer, Ivan Van Beverhoudt, was stationed in the U.S. Virgin Islands, with the job of inspecting flights to prevent the importation of controlled substances. He faces federal charges for the alleged importation of cocaine, possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
Van Beverhoudt was flying from St. Thomas (STT) to Baltimore (BWI) with a layover in Atlanta (ATL) in January. CBP officers and a K-9 handler inspected passengers leaving his flight, and the dog alerted officers to Van Beverhoudt’s bags. He was then brought to an interview room and claimed he was going to Baltimore to see a doctor.
When officers opened the bags, they found 16 packages weighing 39.2 pounds containing a substance that field-tested positive for cocaine.
Van Beverhoudt was able to bypass airport screening because he was carrying his U.S. Government-issued weapon at the time.
“This officer allegedly abused his office to engage in criminal conduct,” said Byung J. Pak, U.S. Attorney, in a statement accompanying a news release from the US Attorney’s Office in Atlanta. “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.”
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