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April 19, 2010


(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) – A Brownsville woman has been arrested for bribing a customs officer and for alien smuggling,  United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Sandra Cecilia Guajardo, 49, was arrested Friday, April 16, 2010, by special agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Professional Responsibility (ICE-OPR) after she allegedly paid a bribe to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer to allow vehicles with undocumented aliens to pass through the officer’s lane on two separate occasions. Guajardo appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Ronald G. Morgan today and was ordered temporarily held without bond pending a preliminary hearing and detention hearing set for April 22, 2010, at 1:30 p.m. before Judge Morgan. 

According to the allegations in the criminal complaint read by the court at her hearing today, on April 6, 2010, Guajardo met with and offered to pay the CBP officer $500 per undocumented alien that was allowed to pass through without inspection.  The next day, Guajardo paid the officer a down payment. On the morning of April 8, 2010, Guajardo allegedly led a vehicle with five undocumented aliens through the officer’s lane. The vehicle was stopped by Brownsville Police Department officers and found to contain three undocumented Mexican nationals and two undocumented El Salvadoran nationals. Guajardo was in a separate vehicle and not arrested at that time.

The criminal complaint also alleges that on April 15, 2010, Guajardo paid the officer the remaining money for the group from the April 8 smuggling event and discussed additional smuggling ventures. The next day, Guajardo coordinated with the drivers of two more vehicles filled with undocumented aliens which were to pass through the officer’s lane. Both vehicles were stopped by Brownsville Police Department officers and Guajardo was arrested later that same day. 

A conviction for alien smuggling carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, while bribery carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. 

The case is being investigated by ICE – OPR. Assistant United States Attorney Joseph T. 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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