By Allan Lengel
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent at the Atlanta airport was charged with 13 others in a large scale drug operation in which authorities seized 700,000 tabs of ecstasy, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.
Authorities say that agent Devon “Romey” Samuel, 45, of Stockbridge, Ga., was charged in three undercover stings conducted by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in which he allegedly smuggled drug money and guns through Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Authorities say the probe into Samuel led to the “unraveling of a large scale ecstasy trafficking organization.”
On Nov. 3, an undercover agent posing as a drug money launderer gave Samuels about $22,000, authorities charged. Samuels then used his badge to bypass security and delivered the money to a Jamaica to an undercover police officer posing as an international drug dealer.
A few weeks later, he allegedly accepted $50,000 from an undercover officer and delivered the money to Jamaican undercover police, authorities said.
On Nov. 30, authorities say Samuels accepted five firearms and about $20,000 in what he thought was drug money from an undercover cop, authorities said. He went directly to the airport with the guns and money and used his badge to bypass security. Once inside the airport, he allegedly gave the guns to second undercover officer who told Samuels he was going to give the guns and cash to members of a Mexican drug cartel at a meeting in Arizona.
Authorities alleged that Samuels also used government computers to check whether he or his associates were under investigation.
“The indictment charges a Customs and Border Protection agent at the airport with taking payoffs to smuggle guns and drug money from undercover agents posing as international drug traffickers,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “That investigation led to unraveling a large scale ecstasy trafficking organization and the seizure of more than $2.8 million worth of ecstasy from a house in Chamblee–one of the largest seizures in the country.”