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Nov. 2, 2010

CBP INSPECTOR ARRESTED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING, ALIEN SMUGGLING AND BRIBERY

(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) – A 13-count indictment charging a former Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspector with drug trafficking, alien smuggling and bribery has been partially unsealed as a result of the arrest of Luis Enrique Ramirez, 38, who fled the United States on or about Feb. 9, 2009, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Ramirez was arrested Oct. 30, 2010, at the B&M International Port of Entry by FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Office Of Professional Responsibility agents as he attempted to re-enter the United States from Mexico. He made his initial appearance on Monday, Nov. 1, 2010, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald S. Morgan and has been ordered detained without bond pending at detention hearing set for Nov. 4, 2010. The sealed indictment was returned April 14, 2009, and remains sealed pending the arrest of others as yet not in custody.

According to allegations in the indictment, from August 2005 to Jan. 28, 2009, Ramirez  conspired with others to transport and move illegal aliens, transported illegal aliens and brought in illegal aliens for commercial advantage and private financial gain. The three bribery counts of the indictment allege that as a public official - an officer with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), CBP - Ramirez corruptly demanded, sought, received and accepted money to influence an official act, that is, to allow illegal aliens to enter the United States.

While employed as a CBP Inspector, Ramirez allegedly conspired to possess with intent to distribute and possessed with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine on multiple occasions from November 2007 to Jan. 28, 2009.

Each charge of transporting illegal aliens carries, upon conviction, imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000. Bringing in aliens for commercial advantage or financial gain carries a mandatory minimum term of three years and up to 10 years imprisonment. The bribery charges are each punishable by a maximum of 15 years imprisonment, while each of the drug smuggling counts carries a mandatory minimum term of 10 years imprisonment up to a maximum of life and millions of dollars in fines.

The case was investigated by the FBI, ICE-OPR, CBP-Internal Affairs and DHS-Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Angel Castro.

 

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