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November 27 , 2017
Contact: Public Information Officer
Number: 206-553-1162

Former Seattle Police Officer pleads guilty for role in drug conspiracy transporting large amounts of marijuana to the east coast

(SEATTLE) – Former Seattle police officer pleaded guilty today for his role in the smuggling of hundreds of pounds of marijuana from the Seattle area to Baltimore, Maryland.  Alex Chapackdee, 44, of Seattle, was a 16-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department (SPD), who resigned shortly after his arrest in May 2017.  Chapackdee pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Under the terms of the plea agreement, both sides will recommend the mandatory minimum five-year sentence when Chapackdee is sentenced on March 1, 2018.  U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly is not bound by the recommendation and can impose any sentence up to the statutory maximum of 40 years in prison.

In his plea agreement, Chapackdee admits he conspired with his brother-in-law, alleged ringleader Tuan Van Le, 42, of Maple Valley, Washington; 32-year-old Phi Nguyen; and 38-year-old Samath Khanhphongphane, to distribute hundreds of pounds of marijuana and transport and launder the proceeds from the drug sales.  Chapackdee has remained in custody since his arrest in May 2017.

An investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Seattle Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI’s Public Corruption Squad revealed that on multiple occasions between June 2013, and April 2017, Le made trips between Seattle and Baltimore.  While Le often flew one way or roundtrip, other members of the conspiracy made the trip by driving virtually non-stop.  The vehicles carried marijuana to the Baltimore area and the cash proceeds back to Seattle.  Chapackdee participated in multiple trips driving his RV one or both ways in September, October and November, 2016. Chapackdee, who was an SPD officer throughout the conspiracy, admits that while he was furthering the conspiracy he was armed and carried his SPD badge. Chapackdee, Le and the other conspirators linked up at both ends of the trip, apparently distributing drugs and the cash proceeds.  Bank records indicate Chapackdee deposited cash in his account in amounts just under $10,000 thereby avoiding reports to law enforcement. In his plea agreement, Chapackdee admits that he used his status as a police officer to cover and protect the conspiracy.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The case was investigated by the DEA, FBI, Seattle Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Multiple agencies assisted with the arrests and the serving of search warrants including the Port of Seattle Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi.


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