Atlanta Customs Agent, Devon Samuels, Thought He was Shipping Illegal Firearms to Arizona, Feds Say

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

An airport-based agent with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Atlanta, Georgia, believed he was shipping drug money and illegal guns to Mexican cartel members in Arizona, officials said Thursday.

Agent Devon Samuels, 45, was among 13 people arrested today on suspicion of a multitude of crimes, including taking payoffs from -- and providing guns and cash to -- people he thought were international drug dealers. A side investigation into a major drug ring resulted in a near-record-breaking seizure of an estimated $2.8 million in Ecstasy, according to a news release from the office of the U.S. Attorney in Georgia, Sally Qullian Yates.

Samuels, who also goes by "Smokey," believed he was meeting with lackeys from drug cartels three times in November, but his contacts were really undercover officers. Here's what Yates' office said about the Arizona angle: 


Samuels is charged with accepting five firearms and approximately $20,000 in alleged drug money from an undercover police officer on Nov. 30, 2010. Samuels went directly to [Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport] with the firearms and money and unlawfully used his badge to bypass security again, smuggling the money and guns into the airport. Once inside the airport, Samuels allegedly gave the firearms and money to a second undercover officer who told Samuels that he was going to transport the firearms and money to Arizona for a meeting with members of a Mexican drug cartel.

On two other occasions earlier in November, authorities say, Samuels took $72,000 in make-believe drug proceeds through the airport to Jamaica, where he handed it over to people he thought were drug-gang affiliates.

Samuels' wife, Keisha "Platinum" Jones, a Delta Airlines employee, went on one of the Jamaica trips, officials said. She was also arrested.

In his spare time, Samuels is said to have used federal computers to check if his buddies were under investigation, and one of those people, Jerome "Romey" Bushay, was linked to the alleged Ectasy-and-pot ring. More than 700,000 tabs of Ecstasy were seized in the investigation, known as "Operation Rude Beast."

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.