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April 2, 2009

CBP OFFICER INDICTED FOR BRIBERY, DRUG TRAFFICKING AND ALIEN SMUGGLING

(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) – A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer has been arrested following the filing of a criminal complaint accusing him of bribery, alien smuggling and drug charges, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

CBP officer Raul Montano Jr., 34, and Jaime Izaguirre-Leal, 39, an illegal alien from Mexico residing in Edinburg, Texas, were arrested today by agents of the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Professional Responsibility (ICE-OPR) as a result of the filing of a sealed criminal complaint signed by U.S. Magistrate Felix Recio in Brownsville. Montano is charged with bribery, conspiracy and smuggling and transporting illegal aliens, conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and importation and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Izaguirre-Leal is charged with conspiring to and possessing with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to import and importation of cocaine.

Montano, a U.S. citizen who resides in Weslaco, assigned to the Brownsville Gateway Port of Entry in Brownsville, was arrested this morning at the Port of Entry while on duty. Izaguirre-Leal, an illegal alien from Mexico living in Edinburg, was arrested at his residence. Both are expected to make their initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Felix Recio on Friday, April 3, at 10:30 a.m. The United States expects to seek the temporary detention of both men pending a hearing on the issue of detention without bond pending further criminal proceedings.

According to allegations in the criminal complaint, which was unsealed today following the arrest of the defendants, Montano notified others when he would be working a particular lane at the Brownsville Gateway Port of Entry. That information was provided to drivers, including Izaguirre-Leal, who would then drive through Montano’s lane in vehicles carrying aliens, cocaine or sometimes both. Within days, Montano would be paid by one of the drivers for allowing the crossing of the undocumented aliens and contraband into the United States. 

The charged drug offenses carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years with a maximum of life imprisonment and a $4 million fine. The charged immigration violations carry a maximum punishment of 10 years imprisonment. A conviction for bribery carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment. The immigration and bribery offenses also carry a maximum fine of $250,000.

The charges are the result of a joint investigation conducted by local agents of the FBI and ICE-OPR.

A criminal complaint is a accusation of criminal conduct, it is not evidence. Defendants are presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

 

 

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