In the last seven years, 144 officers and agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have been arrested or indicted on corruption charges that include smuggling illegal aliens, smuggling drugs, and bribery, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
“In particular, there have been a number of cases in which individuals, known as infiltrators, pursued employment at CBP solely to engage in mission–compromising activity,” the report said, offering two examples.
In 2007, a CBP officer in El Paso, Texas was arrested for conspiracy to import marijuana into the United States from June 2003 through July 2007, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison after conviction. The Office of Field Operation reported “that she may have sought employment with CBP to facilitate drug smuggling.”
A Border Patrol agent station in Comstock, Texas was arrested in 2008 for conspiracy with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. The agent was convicted in 2009, sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined $10,000.
“From fiscal years 2005 through 2012, a total of 144 employees were arrested or indicted for corruption related activities, including smuggling aliens or drugs, and 125 have been convicted,” the GAO report says. “About 65 percent (93 of 144) were employees stationed along the southwest border.”
The bulk of corruption cases were for serious offenses, according to the GAO. The report also cited 2,170 cases of what the CPB called “misconduct,” which is illegal behavior outside the workplace, such as domestic violence, driving under the influence or substance abuse. That’s in contrast to 144 cases of “corruption,” which the CPB describes as delinquent behavior affecting the job.
The agency divides corruption into two categories. From 2005 to 2012 there were 103 cases of “mission-compromising corruption” that would include more serious charges of smuggling, bribery and allowing illegal cargo into the United States, versus 41 cases of “non-mission-compromising corruption,” which could range from stealing money from the station site to losing a badge.