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ANGELA DODGE
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March 3, 2011

FORMER CBP OFFICER PLEADS GUILTY TO DRUG TRAFFICKING, ALIEN SMUGGLING AND BRIBERY           

(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) – A former Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer has been convicted of drug trafficking, alien smuggling and bribery after pleading guilty to the federal felony offenses, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Luis Enrique Ramirez, 38, of Brownsville, pleaded guilty this morning just before jury selection for a trial on the case was slated to begin. At the time of his re-arraignment, Ramirez admitted that between November 2007 and January 2009, while employed as a CBP officer, he was a member of a drug trafficking organization. He admitted that on Dec. 17, 2008, he allowed a co-conspirator to drive a vehicle laden with 12 Kilograms of cocaine into the United States via a vehicle primary inspection lane he was manning at the time. Ramirez also admitted that between July 2008 through January 2009, he conspired with others to bring illegal aliens into the United States and to transport them furthering their illegal presence in the United States for commercial advantage and private financial gain and accepting bribes to influence him in his official capacity as a CBP officer. As part of his findings today, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, who accepted the guilty pleas and convicted Ramirez, also entered a preliminary order of criminal forfeiture directing Ramirez to forfeit $500,000, a sum representing the proceeds of Ramirez’s criminal activity, to the United States.

The cocaine trafficking conviction is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 10 years imprisonment up to a maximum of life and a fine of up to $4 million. The alien smuggling conspiracy conviction is punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years, while bringing in illegal aliens for commercial advantage and private financial gain carries a punishment range of not less than three nor more than 10 years imprisonment. The bribery conviction is punishable by imprisonment for up to 15 years. Each of these three convictions also carries a maximum fine of $250,000.

Judge Hanen has set sentencing for June 6, 2011. Ramirez has been in custody without bond since his arrest on Oct. 30, 2010.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by agents of the FBI’s Brownsville Resident Office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Office of Professional Responsibility, Department of Homeland Security-Office of Inspector General and Customs and Border Protection-Office of Internal Affairs. Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Castro is prosecuting the case.

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