Monday, May 30, 2005

Drug Lords Bribe U.S. Border Patrol

(McAllen, Texas) It shouldn't be surprising that drug traffickers try to bribe law enforcement officials, including U.S. Border Patrol agents. Bribery is a common business practice.

The Border Patrol checkpoint on a remote stretch of South Texas ranchland was the ideal route for a drug trafficking ring to move tons of marijuana.

To make sure their product got through, traffickers paid $1.5 million to U.S. Border Patrol agent Juan Alfredo Alvarez, 35, to wave trucks loaded with a ton or more of marijuana through checkpoints outside Hebbronville, according to a plea bargain Alvarez agreed to earlier this month.

As Mexican drug cartels have transformed the Texas-Mexico border into one of the major transport corridors for marijuana, cocaine and heroin, traffickers have stepped up their efforts to bribe agents.

While attention has been focused on the wide-scale corruption of Mexican law enforcement officials by powerful drug organizations, recent investigations along the border have revealed corruption of several U.S. agents at key international crossings.
Alvarez awaits sentencing for a conviction for bribery. The U.S. Justice Department has made arrests in a number of other cases where U.S. law enforcement personnel have been corrupted by drug money.

Interestingly, in some cases the drug smugglers and law officers grew up together and went to the same schools in close-knit towns along the border. So, even though they are on opposite sides of the law, they know each other quite well. More.

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