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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    ATLANTA -- Prosecutors in Georgia say they have seized 700,000 tabs of Ecstasy and have charged a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent along with 13 others in what they say was a large-scale drug trafficking scheme

    U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Thursday authorities seized the Ecstasy worth more than $2.8 million at a house in Chamblee in northeast Atlanta.

    Customs agent Devon Samuels is charged with laundering drug money, smuggling cash and attempting to bring weapons onto an aircraft.

    Prosecutors say an officer posing as a money launderer gave the 45-year-old Samuels $22,000, which they say he smuggled to Jamaica.

    Samuels is also charged with conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. Authorities say he was paid $900 to help a couple in a sham marriage deceive customs officials.

    The Associated Press
    Thursday, December 16, 2010; 7:10 PM



  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Airport customs agent nabbed in mammoth ecstasy seizure
    13 people arrested in airport gun- and drug-smuggling ring

    A U.S. Customs agent from Stockbridge and his wife, a Delta employee, face charges of helping funnel guns and drug money through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, federal officials announced Thursday.

    They were arrested along with 12 others after parallel investigations turned up $2.8 million worth of ecstasy, about 700,000 tabs of the amphetamine-like drug, stored at a residence in Chamblee.

    U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said it was “the largest ecstasy seizure in the country this year" and the ninth largest in U.S. history.

    Veteran customs agent Devon Samuels, aka "Smokey," was granted a secured bond with home monitoring Thursday morning, said Yates, who is appealing that decision. Samuels and his wife, Keisha Jones, are charged with conspiring to launder drug money, bulk cash smuggling and attempting to bring weapons onto an aircraft.

    The investigation into Samuels' actions progressed quickly after a tip from an unnamed source. According to the indictment, a federal agent, posing as a money launderer, met with Samuels on Nov. 3. Samuels was given $22,000 he believed was generated from drug sales, federal agents said.

    Samuels then allegedly used his security clearance to avoid screening checkpoints en route to Jamaica, where he delivered the money to a Jamaican police officer acting as an international drug trafficker. Samuels' wife accompanied him on the trip, officials said.

    Delta spokeswoman Susan Elliott would not say what Jones' position was with the airline.

    "We actively participated in this investigation from its inception and will continue to provide our support," she said.

    The couple returned to Jamaica on Nov. 19 after accepting another $50,000 in alleged drug funds, according to the indictment. Samuels was given $20,000, along with five firearms, on Nov. 30 by an undercover officer who instructed the customs agent to deliver the package to the airport. There, he was met by another incognito agent, who told Samuels he was headed to Arizona for a meeting with members of a Mexican drug cartel.

    David D'Amato, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Samuels sold himself to the highest bidder.

    "By bringing down Samuels, we're cutting the head off the snake" of this organization, he said.

    The ecstasy and marijuana trafficking ring, allegedly led by Jerome Bushay, of Norcross, and Fnu Lu, known as "Otis" (address unknown), was responsible for "the lion's share of ecstasy coming into this region," said Rod Benson, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

    Using his government clearance, Samuels, 45, ran periodic computer checks to determine whether he or his associates were under federal investigation. He's also accused of using his position to assist Carlton Ferguson and Dahlia McLaren, of Decatur, in deceiving immigration authorities about their sham marriage, officials said. He was allegedly paid at least $500 to help McLaren obtain U.S. citizenship.

    "The severity of Samuels' actions can't be overstated," D'Amato said.

    By Christian Boone
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  2. Balzafire
    Jamaican cops help nab US drug traffickers

    Success of ‘Operation Rude Beast’ gets praises from commish

    [imgl=white]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=18562&stc=1&d=1292780915[/imgl]POLICE Commissioner Owen Ellington is expressing his delight with the work of Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) officers which led to the arrests of several individuals by United States (US) authorities in the state of Georgia for drug trafficking.

    The operation, dubbed ‘Operation Rude Beast’, led to one of the largest ecstasy pill seizures in United States history.

    In a joint news release from the District Attorney’s Office of Atlanta and the JCF’s Anti Corruption Branch (ACB), it was announced that a federal customs officer based at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport had been arrested and charged along with 13 others for alleged drug trafficking in the large-scale investigation.

    "As Commissioner of Police, I am proud of the work our members did in partnering with our friends from several US law enforcement agencies to smash what has turned out to be a major international drug trafficking ring,” Ellington said. “The quality of the investigative work done by our members is not only to be commended but also to be replicated by others.”

    At least four locations in the metro Atlanta area were the targets of search warrants executed today, as part of the investigation.

    “This investigation involved a corrupt federal law enforcement officer at the airport who allegedly acted as a paid revolving door for drug money and criminal activity,” US Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said. “The amount of ecstasy in this case is staggering. It appears to be one of the largest such seizures in the country.”

    She said the criminal activity was allegedly so spread out that law enforcement partners formed a task force just for this case.

    A federal grand jury has returned three indictments related to Operation Rude Beast which were all unsealed today.

    In the first indictment, three persons were charged with offences including conspiring to launder drug money, with bulk cash smuggling, and with attempting to bring a weapon on to an aircraft.

    In the second indictment, 13 persons were charged with offences including conspiracy to traffic MDMA (ecstasy) and marijuana, and firearms violations; and in the third indictment, three persons were charged with offences including conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and making false statements on immigration documents.

    According to Yates, Devon ‘Smokey’, 45, of Stockbridge, Georgia, a US Customs and Border Protection officer, was allegedly involved in three undercover sting operations to smuggle alleged drug money and guns through Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

    In a sting operation on November 3, Samuels accepted five firearms and approximately $20,000 in alleged drug money from an undercover police officer.

    With the alleged assistance of his associate, Mark ‘Supa’ Tomlinson, 36, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, and by unlawfully utilising his badge to bypass security and avoid screening, Samuels smuggled the money through Atlanta's airport to Jamaica.

    Once in Jamaica, Samuels delivered the money to a Jamaican undercover police officer, who was posing as an international drug trafficker.

    On November 19, Samuels allegedly accepted $50,000 in alleged drug money from another undercover officer. Samuels and Keisha Jones, his wife, a Delta Airlines employee, then travelled from Atlanta to Jamaica, where they delivered the money to Jamaican undercover police officers. The indictment alleges that while in Atlanta's airport, Samuels unlawfully used his badge to bypass security and avoid being screened.

    On November 30, Samuels allegedly accepted five firearms and approximately $20,000 in alleged drug money from an undercover police officer. He went directly to the airport with the firearms and money and unlawfully used his badge to bypass security again, smuggling the money and guns into the airport. Once inside the airport, he allegedly gave the firearms and money to a second undercover officer who was allegedly going to transport the firearms and money to Arizona for a meeting with members of a Mexican drug cartel.

    The indictment also alleges that on several occasions, Samuels unlawfully used his access to government computers to determine whether he or his associates were under federal investigation.

    In a related investigation beginning in February 2010, federal law enforcement officers began investigating a specific MDMA and marijuana drug trafficking organisation operating in the metro Atlanta area and elsewhere.

    The individuals involved then distributed the drugs to various individuals throughout the United States. On October 1, 2010, pursuant to a search warrant, law enforcement officers seized approximately 700,000 tablets of ecstasy in one of the largest domestic seizures of MDMA in US history.

    Agents found the pills hidden in various places throughout a house, including in the insulation of the walls and in a crawl space near a bedroom. Those tablets have been held for evidence by the DEA. The street value of the ecstasy is estimated at $2.8 million.

    Samuels also allegedly used his position to further a marriage fraud scheme. Beginning in November 2009, and in exchange for a fee, he allegedly used his knowledge of immigration practices to assist a couple in deceiving the US that their sham marriage was genuine.

    The indictment alleges that Samuels was paid at least $500 for his assistance in that scheme.

    Jamaica Observer
    December 16, 2010
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