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Customs officer busted for letting drug smugglers through JFK airport inspections

February 15, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Customs officer busted for letting drug smugglers through JFK airport inspections (SHAWN THEW/EPA)

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A customs officer has been taken into custody for reportedly trying to let smugglers through inspection checkpoints at New York’s JFK airport, authorities revealed on Tuesday.

Fernando Marte, a uniformed Customs and Border Protection officer, greeted two cocaine smugglers with a handshake and a kiss on the cheek — and then tried to assist with their exit.

Marte was arrested and charged last week in Brooklyn Federal Court.

According to court documents, Marte got one of the alleged smugglers — carrying 45 bricks of cocaine — past a secondary inspection area.

However, the plot failed when other customs officers questioned the second passenger and discovered that he had been traveling with a woman who just got through. The customs officers took her back in, opened the luggage and found the drugs.

Federal officials indicated that this is not the first time that Marte, a customs officer for over five years, worked to get smugglers past security checkpoints, the New York Daily News reported

In Marte’s arrest records, an unidentified co-conspirator told the government about an early 2016 drug operation. The individual said that they were informed when arriving at JFK that they would be met by a customs officer.

The person said the Customs officer provided escort through security and gave a description that matched Marte and Customs records showed that the suspect made entries linked to the individual’s arrival.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection stresses honor and integrity in every aspect. The majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with distinction, working every day to keep our country safe. We do not tolerate corruption or abuse… I am grateful to our law enforcement partners for their assistance in helping preserve the honor and integrity of our agency,” Robert Perez, the director of Customs and Border Protection’s Field Operations in New York, said in a statement.

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