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Jan. 7, 2011

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(HOUSTON) - A former Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspector has been arrested after being indicted by a federal grand jury for providing false statements during a federal investigation and bribery, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Manuel Salazar, 45, formerly employed as a CBP Inspector at the Pharr, Texas, port of entry is accused in an eight-count indictment returned on Nov. 10, 2010, under seal of two counts of making false statement during a federal investigation in 2009 and six counts of bribery in 2007 and 2008. The indictment, arising from an investigation conducted by the McAllen offices of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security - Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG).

Salazar was arrested without incident in Mission, Texas, on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011, by DHS-OIG. He appeared before a U.S. Magistrate in McAllen today and has been ordered to remain in federal custody without bond pending a hearing on the government’s motion to hold Salazar without bond pending trial scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 11, at 11:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos. The indictment is unsealed.  
The indictment alleges Salazar accepted money in his official capacity as a CBP inspector to provide information to drug traffickers and to allow narcotics to be transported across the Texas/Mexico border in 2007 and 2008. The false statement charges carry a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment upon conviction while each of the bribery charges carries a maximum of 15 years incarceration without parole. Each of the six counts also carries as punishment a maximum possible fine of $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James McAlister will prosecute the case in Houston.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.

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