New York NY Feb 15 2017 A customs officer has been arrested for allegedly trying to let smugglers sail through inspections at JFK airport, authorities said Tuesday.
Uniformed Customs and Border Protection officer Fernando Marte greeted two cocaine couriers with a kiss on the cheek and a handshake — and then tried to help with their exit, say authorities.
Marte was arrested and arraigned last week in Brooklyn Federal Court, officials said.
According to court papers, Marte got one of alleged smugglers — toting carry-ons with 45 bricks of cocaine — past a secondary inspection point.
But the scheme got fouled up when other customs officers questioned the second traveler and determined he had been traveling with the woman who just walked through. The customs officers brought her back, opened the suitcases and found the nose candy.
Feds say this is not the first time Marte, a customs officer for just over five years, worked to get smugglers past prying eyes.
In the arrest papers on Marte, an unnamed co-conspirator told the government about an early 2016 drug run. The person said they were told when arriving at JFK to they'd be met by a customs officer.
The person said the officer named "Martes" escorted them through. The person gave a description matching Marte and customs records showed Marte made entries related to the person's arrival.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission. The overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe. We do not tolerate corruption or abuse within our ranks. ... I am grateful to our law enforcement partners for their support and assistance in helping preserve the honor and integrity of our agency," said Robert Perez, director for Customs and Border Protection's Field Operations New York.
He said the overwhelming majority of the agency's ranks did their job with "distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe."
Perez added: "We do not tolerate corruption or abuse within our ranks, and will aggressively investigate allegations of criminal or administrative misconduct by any of our personnel, on or off duty."
NY Daily News