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Border & Immigration

Border Agents Get Jail Time For Force-Feeding Pot To Smugglers

On Tuesday a federal judge sentenced two Border Patrol agents to two years in jail each for forcing a group of smugglers to chew marijuana leaves and flee into the desert without shoes.

As we reported in April, a jury found Dario Castillo and Ramon Zuniga guilty of violating the civil rights of four smugglers.

The incident happened in November 2008 while Castillo and Zuniga were patrolling the border in the Tucson sector. They were called to help out other agents who discovered a group of suspected smugglers with bundles of marijuana.


Four of the smugglers were caught, and Castillo and Zuniga made them strip and forced them to chew handfuls of marijuana. The agents set fire to the men’s clothes and made them run out into the desert.

The temperature was about 40 degrees and there was no shelter or resources for miles around.

All of the smugglers were Mexican nationals in the U.S. illegally. Reuters reports that officials recovered 21 bundles of marijuana, but the smugglers were never charged and all were eventually deported.

Sentencing for the two agents is scheduled for Tuesday morning in Tucson.