SUPERVISORY CUSTOMS OFFICER AND SIX OTHERS ARRESTED
Charges Follow an Undercover Investigation of Corruption at U.S. Customs and Border
Protection at John F. Kennedy International Airport
NEW YORK – Supervisory U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer Walter Golembiowski, CBP Officer John Ajello and five others were arrested today on narcotics importation and bribery conspiracy charges, announced Michael J. Garcia, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York; John P. Gilbride, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Office; Steven J. Mocsary, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Professional Responsibility (ICE-OPR), Investigations East; Gregory K. Null, Special Agent-in-Charge of the DHS, Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG), Office of Investigation, Philadelphia Field Office; and Raymond W. Kelly, Police Commissioner of the City of New York.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, the arrests were the culmination of a lengthy investigation into a network of individuals importing large quantities of hashish and other controlled substances as well as contraband into the United States through John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York. The investigation was launched by the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force (OCDESF), which is comprised of agents and officers from the DEA; the New York Police Department; the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division; the DHS, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the FBI; the New York State Police; the U.S. Marshals Service; the U.S. Secret Service; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It resulted in the indictment and successful prosecution of more than 20 individuals – from distributors to overseas sources of supply – and the seizure of more than 600 pounds of imported hashish and a significant amount of narcotics proceeds in the United States and France.
Based on the information obtained through its investigation, OCDESF identified a number of individuals, including Golembiowski, who assisted in clearing shipments of counterfeit goods, hashish and other controlled substances through U.S. Customs at JFK. These individuals regularly accepted and solicited bribes to permit shipments of contraband to pass through customs without inspection.
“Smuggling any kind of illegal commodity raises troubling issues at a time of deep concern over national security. The threat is heightened when a government official accepts bribes to help smugglers breach our borders,” said U.S. Attorney Garcia. “Thanks to the tireless work of our law enforcement partners, including internal investigators from DHS and ICE, these defendants will no longer be able to profit from their corruption of the public trust.”