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Press Release

Seattle Police Officer Arrested as Part of Drug Conspiracy Transporting Large Amounts of Marijuana to East Coast

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Allegedly worked for Ringleader Driving Drugs and Money and Monitoring Police Activity related to Illegal Grow Houses and Distribution

A Seattle Police Officer is one of four people arrested May 6, 2017, in connection with a ring smuggling hundreds of pounds of marijuana from the Seattle area to Baltimore, Maryland, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. ALEX CHAPACKDEE, 44, of Seattle, is a 16-year veteran of SPD and is the brother-in-law of alleged ringleader TUAN VAN LE, 42, of Maple Valley, Washington. The other two men arrested are 32-year-old PHI NGUYEN, and 38-year-old SAMATH KHANHPHONGPHANE. All four men will make their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Seattle at 2:00 p.m. today.


“The trafficking of hundreds of pounds of marijuana from Washington to the streets of Baltimore will not be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “Drug trafficking organizations that ignore federal and state laws have always been and will continue to be targeted and held to account. The fact that a police officer was involved in this is obviously of particular concern.”


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 allegedly 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, 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.


The charges contained in the criminal complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Conspiracy to distribute marijuana in these quantities is punishable by a mandatory minimum five years in prison and up to 40 years in prison.


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 FBI, DEA, 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.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Public Affairs Officer Emily Langlie at (206) 276-5288 or

Updated May 8, 2017

Drug Trafficking