Dec. 9, 2010
BROWNSVILLE WOMAN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR BRIBERY OF A CBP OFFICER AND ALIEN SMUGGLING
(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) – A Brownsville woman was sentenced to prison 40 months in federal prison without parole for bribing a customs officer and alien smuggling, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
After a hearing this afternoon, United States District Court Judge Hilda Tagle handed down the 40 months sentence on each of the three counts of conviction – two for bribery and one for harboring illegal aliens – on Sandra Cecilia Guajardo, 49, of Brownsville. All sentences are to be served concurrently. Upon completion of the sentence the court ordered Guarjardo serve a three-year-term of supervised release. Immediately after handing down the sentence, Judge Tagle remanded Guajardo into federal custody to begin serving her sentence.
Guajardo was indicted following an investigation by special agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Professional Responsibility (ICE-OPR) after she 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. Today, she pleaded guilty to two counts of bribery and one count of alien smuggling before United States Magistrate Judge Felix Recio.
Guajardo admitted to having met with a CBP officer to discuss alien smuggling on March 12, 2010. The CBP officer reported this to ICE-OPR agents who initiated an investigation into Guajardo. She further admitted to having met with the officer in April to come to the terms of the agreement and, on April 7, 2010, met with the CBP officer and paid him a $1,000 down payment to let a vehicle with undocumented aliens pass through his lane without inspection. On the morning of April 8, 2010, Guajardo crossed through the officer’s lane, followed by a vehicle with six undocumented aliens. The vehicle was stopped by Brownsville Police Department officers and found to contain four undocumented Mexican nationals and two undocumented El Salvadoran nationals. Guajardo was in a separate vehicle and not arrested at that time.
On April 15, 2010, Guajardo paid the officer the remaining money for the group from the April 8th smuggling event and discussed additional smuggling ventures and paid a $500 down payment for the next group of aliens. 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.
The case was being investigated by ICE – OPR. Assistant United States Attorney Joseph T. Leonard prosecuted the case.
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