A U.S. border officer is facing serious charges. Christopher Vanzandt is accused of stealing pills from vehicles he searched at the Canadian border.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer is facing serious charges.
Christopher Vanzandt, 28, of Rouses Point, New York is accused of stealing pills from vehicles he searched at the Canadian border.
He has been a federal law enforcement officer for four years and how police cracked this case was merely a coincidence.
Police say Vanzandt, who works in the Office of Field Operations, stole prescription pain pills while searching a suitcase in a man’s car. But how police discovered the stolen pills may surprise you.
State and Morristown police were watching a house during an on-going heroin investigation when they say Vanzandt showed up. When no one came to the door, they say they watched Vanzandt break into the garage. That’s when he was arrested.
Court documents say Vanzandt later told police he knew the stash of heroin was hidden in cans of WD-40 and baby formula.
Vanzandt says he never used heroin while on the job at the border, but did confess to police that he would use it before work; he said he would also bring it in his car, even though he admits to being nervous about the drug sniffing dogs.
The affidavit shows Vanzandt also told police he has thought of stealing pills from people crossing the border before, but had never had the opportunity. When police searched his car, that’s when they say they located pills stolen from the border.
“Our drug task force investigated it and it’s a case that’s being referred to U.S. Attorney’s office,” Vermont State Police Lieutenant John Flannigan said.
Police say the final piece of evidence was a water bottle containing urine. Vanzandt told police he gets urine from someone else, in order to pass drug tests for his job.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Statement:
“CBP stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe. We do not tolerate corruption, abuse or criminal activity within our ranks, and we fully cooperate with any criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel, on or off duty. In fact, we have put in place extensive measures to proactively prevent misconduct by employing a rigorous vetting process and conducting thorough background investigations on those we hire.”
Christopher Vanzandt was arraigned in Franklin County court this week for burglary and possession of drugs, but those charges will likely be dropped – so he can instead be arraigned in federal court. He’s facing 15 years in prison.
He’s currently out of jail, waiting for his next court date.