BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Canadian police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges that he used his position to smuggle drugs and other contraband into Canada. The investigation is being conducted by members of Buffalo's Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST).
U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. and James Spero, special agent in charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Buffalo announced the guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.
Geoffrey Purdie, 41, of Niagara, Ontario, pleaded guilty to exporting anabolic steroids from the United States into Canada. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $500,000 fine, or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten, who is handling the case, stated that Purdie was employed as a constable with the Niagara Regional Police. On several occasions in November and December 2011, the defendant entered the United States and retrieved packages containing steroids that had been shipped to a business in the U.S. Purdie then smuggled the steroids from the United States into Canada. The defendant presented his official identification as a law enforcement officer to Canadian border personnel in order to avoid screening.
"This office, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal to protect the integrity of our nation's borders," said Hochul. "It is particularly egregious when a member of law enforcement violates his oath of office in order to engage in international criminal activity. Such conduct will continue to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
"This conviction highlights an egregious breach of the deep trust placed in law enforcement," said Spero. "The defendant used his position to smuggle illegal contraband into Canada for his own financial gain. Citizens of the United States and Canada need to know that they can count on law enforcement to do the jobs they entrust us to do each day. The defendant breached that trust and will be held accountable."
Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 28.
In January 2006, DHS adopted the BEST initiative as a DHS task force in order to leverage federal, state, local, tribal and international law enforcement and intelligence resources in an effort to identify, disrupt and dismantle organizations that seek to exploit vulnerabilities along the U.S. borders and threaten the overall safety and security of the American public. BEST is designed to increase information sharing and collaboration among the participating agencies, focusing toward the identification, prioritization and investigation of emerging or existing threats.