Customs inspector at BWI indicted on bribery charges

Woman implicated him in plea agreement

September 27, 2001|By Michael Scarcella | Michael Scarcella,SUN STAFF

A U.S. Customs inspector at Baltimore-Washington International Airport was indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday on bribery charges, federal prosecutors announced.

Harry William Holland, 47, of Rosedale, a senior customs officer assigned to the Passenger Analysis Unit, was charged with two counts each of bribery and taking an illegal gratuity.

The indictment occurs nearly five months after initial charges were brought against Holland.

It alleges that he accepted two payments of 1,000 British pounds, one on Feb. 20 and again on March 23.

The payments, worth about $3,000, were from people representing themselves as drug smugglers to permit entry into the United States at BWI without clearing customs controls, according to the indictment.

An investigation of Holland began in August 1999 after authorities received several complaints that he used his position "to prey on young black female international passengers at BWI," according to a statement issued by the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore.

U.S. Customs' Office of Internal Affairs has been leading the investigation, which was described by agency spokesman Dean Boyd as "part of our continued effort to root out bad apples."

According to the prosecutors' statement, Holland, whose duties included the inspection of people and property entering the United States suspected of carrying contraband, paid particular attention to women from Nigeria and Jamaica, countries known for narcotics exports.

Authorities said he was especially attentive to a Nigerian woman found to have ingested and transported 1,360 grams of heroin, and shortly after her arrest sought to correspond with her.

The woman -- whose name was not divulged by authorities -- pleaded guilty to narcotics violations in an agreement that included her engaging in correspondence with Holland.

Authorities allege that he agreed to help her family and friends get through customs "in exchange for sex, nude pictures of the woman and/or money."

A date for Holland's arraignment has not been announced.

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