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Border Protection officer caught escorting drug smugglers at JFK Airport

By Mason White 2:33 PM April 21, 2017
Passengers at airport (illustration)
Passengers at airport (illustration)
By: Tanya Clark

A Customs and Border Protection officer betrayed the United States, be helping drug traffickers smuggling cocaine through JFK Airport, according to police in New York.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer was indicted on Wednesday, for his role in a conspiracy to import more than 100 pounds of cocaine into the U.S.

Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York with assistance from CBP New York Field Office and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General, arrested the man.

Fernando Marte, 28, of Farmingdale, allegedly abused his law enforcement position by escorting drug smugglers through CBP inspection points at the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport in Queens.

“As a public servant entrusted with border security and keeping dangerous drugs out of our country, Officer Marte instead sought to serve himself and stained the badge he wore by doing so, by allowing cocaine to flow through JFK Airport and into our city,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI New York.

“For corrupt officers who think they can hide behind their badge as they engage in transnational criminal activity, today’s indictment shows you will be caught and brought to justice,” Melendez added.

According to the criminal complaint, Marte, an employee of the United States Customs and Border Protection who worked at John F. Kennedy International Airport, conspired to import cocaine into the United States from the Dominican Republic.

While on duty for CBP, Marte approached two individuals who had arrived together at JFK on a flight from the Dominican Republic.

Marte escorted the individuals to the baggage claim area, where they loaded two suitcases onto a baggage cart.

Marte then escorted one of the individuals and the baggage cart through the secondary inspection point in the terminal.

Upon searching the suitcases of the second individual, CBP officers recovered 45 brick-shaped packages containing approximately 45 kilograms of cocaine.

Further investigation has revealed that Marte previously escorted at least one other drug smuggler from the Dominican Republic through the inspection area at JFK Airport.

He was booked into jail, and his bail has been set at $1 million.