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August 14, 2009

ATTEMPT TO BRIBE CBP OFFICER LEADS TO ARREST OF MEXICAN NATIONAL

(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) – A Mexican national legally residing in the United States has been arrested and charged with attempting to bribe a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

Estanislao Saucedo Juarez, 51, a resident of Brownsville, was arrested on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009, by special agents of the Immigration and Custom Enforcement Office of Professional Responsibility (ICE-OPR) after he allegedly offered and paid a $500 bribe to a CBP officer in exchange for being permitted to exit the country with a vehicle without the requisite 72-hour waiting period. Juarez appeared before a U.S. Magistrate today and been ordered temporarily detained in federal custody without bond pending a preliminary examination and detention hearing set for Aug. 19, 2009.

Federal regulations require that the title to a vehicle to be exported from the United States be turned over to the CBP 72 hours prior to export. This regulation permits CBP to conduct a search in law enforcement communication systems for stolen vehicles and provides time for registered owners to file a police report of theft prior to the vehicle being exported.

According to the allegation in the criminal complaint filed today, on Thursday, Juarez arrived at the Brownsville & Matamoros International Port of Entry (POE) with a vehicle intending to export it into Mexico but failed to comply with 72-hour export requirement. When advised by CBP officers he was subject to a fine for this failure, the complaint alleges Juarez offered the officer a bribe to ignore the 72-hour export requirement. The officer escorted Juarez to an interview room and notified ICE-OPR of the bribe attempt. According to the complaint, the officer and Juarez continued their conversation and, ultimately, Juarez offered and paid the officer a $500 bribe to permit him to walk out of the POE through a back door, to retain his (Juarez’) resident alien card, to not be assessed a $500 fine (per agency guidelines) and to be permitted to exit the country with the vehicle without the 72-hour delay.

Aattempting to bribe a public official carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 upon conviction. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Leonard will be prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

 

 

 

 

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