Tuesday, July 17, 2012
A border agent and two others were arraigned in San Diego on Monday on charges of human smuggling and bribery.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer Hector Rodriguez and two other individuals were arraigned in San Diego on Monday on charges of human smuggling and bribery.
Rodriguez was arrested on July 13 while on duty at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. He is accused of informing his two co-defendants, Gerardo Rodriguez of Chula Vista and Vanessa Moya of San Diego, of his work schedule and lane assignment at the border crossing, so they could smuggle in migrants under his watch.
According to the complaint, when the suspected smugglers arrived at his inspection booth, Officer Rodriguez would record false information about the driver’s identity and vehicle ID number. The vehicles used to smuggle migrants had no visible license plates.
The officer would omit any information about the undocumented people in the vehicle, according to the complaint. Authorities identified 37 such crossings in 2011 and 2012.
Officer Rodriguez is also accused of taking bribes from one of the suspected smugglers, including rent payments on an apartment and use of a Hummer and Jaguar.
Gerardo Rodriguez and Moya were also arrested on July 13 after crossing the border in separate vehicles carrying a total of 13 undocumented migrants.
All three suspects are being held without bond pending a hearing Thursday.
Since October 2004, approximately 140 Customs and Border Protection employees have been arrested or indicted for corruption, according to congressional testimony given in May by CBP Acting Deputy Commissioner Thomas Winkowski.
Two former San Diego border patrol agents are currently on trial in federal court accused of involvement in human smuggling.