Arizona has the fine distinction of being the weakest link along the Mexican border.
With agents like the two who were recently busted, it’s not hard to see why.
Two border employees were recently charged with accepting bribes to help drugs and illegal immigrants make their way from Mexico into the United States, according to news releases from the District of Arizona’s Office of the U.S. Attorney.
Former U.S. Border Patrol Agent Yamilkar Fierros, who was arrested Oct. 30, allegedly accepted bribes totaling $5,500 to help the drug trade thrive. A four-count federal indictment was unsealed the day he was arrested.
Fierros, from Tucson, reportedly accepted four separate bribes to give purported drug traffickers the following information and assistance:
* $1,000 for furnishing a law enforcement sensitive map of San Rafael Valley, which depicts road, trails, landmarks and terminology used by border patrol to track down drug traffickers on Sept. 30.
* $3,000 for giving out a list of 109 sensor location in and around Sonoita on Oct. 2
* $1,000 for handing over a list of yet more Sonoita sensor locations – 65 new ones – and
* $500 for agreeing to help sneak a load of narcotics from Patagonia to Tucson on Oct. 23
His $5,500 is a pretty paltry sum for a load of valuable information. The guy must not have been a business major.
On a scarier note, who knows how much farther all that information traveled. Maybe copies of the map and lists are hidden beneath rocks along the way.
Another agent, a man from Yuma, recently pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to help smuggle illegal aliens into the country.
Former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer Jose Carmelo Magana was staffing a lane at the San Luis Port of Entry back in 2007 where he would reportedly not bother to perform proper inspections.
Ooops. Didn’t see that illegal hiding in the wheel well, sorry.
Magana admitted he was in cahoots with Brenda Covarrubias, Ana Bertha Calderon, Jesus Gastelum-Rodriguez, Guadalupe Milan de Gastelum, all of whom already pleaded guilty in this case to Conspiracy to Bring Illegal Aliens to the United States.
In addition to the bribe, Magana also said he got a portion of the smuggling fees charged by the smugglers.
We must thank this guy, too.
The maximum sentence for Attempting to Bring Illegal Aliens into the U.S. is 10 years in federal prison with a minimum mandatory penalty of three years in prison. It can also carry up to a $250,000 fine.
The bribery charges could cost each guy 15 years in the federal pen, a fine of $250,000, or both. Fierros faces four of those charges, which would make his maximum sentence, if convicted, 60 years and the maximum fine at $1 million. OK. But we have to wonder where he’d get the $1 million if he’s sitting around in prison.
Maybe he can rake in more bribe money.
Is there any bribe large enough that would propel you into illegal action?
How can such actions be better prevented in the future?
Have you heard other unscrupulous border stories? Do tell.