By GENE JOHNSON
SEATTLE (AP) — A Seattle police officer has been charged with helping to smuggle hundreds of pounds of marijuana to Baltimore.
Alex Chapackdee, a 44-year-old patrol officer who’s been with the department since 2000, was arrested on May 6. According to a federal criminal complaint unsealed on May 8, he is one of four men charged with conspiring to distribute marijuana. Authorities say he is the brother-in-law of the group’s ringleader.
“While [it is] always disturbing to investigate one of our own, I am proud of the detectives and commanders who worked diligently on this case,” Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said in a written statement. “Officer Chapackdee’s conduct is disgraceful and disappointing. While he will have his due process in the courts, I hope these charges demonstrate to our community that SPD will not tolerate corrupt behavior in our ranks.”
The FBI said Chapackdee made several trips last fall in which he drove the marijuana to Baltimore in his recreational vehicle, met up with other conspirators, and then drove back with cash proceeds. The complaint says he then deposited close to $20,000 in cash into his bank account.
Chapackdee’s attorney, David Gehrke, said he wouldn’t comment on allegations before seeing the government’s evidence. However, he said the arrest has been extremely difficult for Chapackdee, whom he described as a well-respected officer, as well as for Chapackdee’s wife and four children.
“This is a huge fall from grace, an embarrassment,” Gehrke said.
Investigators began looking into him after a confidential source reported that his brother-in-law had been paying him $10,000 a month to keep an eye on marijuana grow houses and to provide him with information about law-enforcement activities, the complaint said.
Seattle police say Chapackdee is on unpaid leave. A magistrate judge ordered him held in custody pending a hearing.