FORMER BORDER OFFICER SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR TRADING SEX FOR ACCESS TO THE U.S.
Judge Says Offenses “Breach of Public Trust” by Accepting Sexual Favors
DESMONE BASTIAN, 33, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 32 months in prison and two years of supervised release for Accepting a Bribe. BASTIAN, a U.S. citizen residing in Canada, worked for U.S. Customs and Border Protection as an Officer, screening vehicles and drivers seeking to cross into the United States at the Blaine, Washington, Port of Entry. The jury convicted BASTIAN January 24, 2008, following a five day jury trial where prosecutors showed how BASTIAN repeatedly allowed a Canadian woman, with whom he had a sexual relationship, to pass into the U.S. without any search of her car or person. U.S. District Judge James L. Robart called BASTIAN’s action “an incredibly serious offense.... A trusted servant of the U.S. government allowed an individual to make multiple trips into the U.S. without any supervision.”
BASTIAN was arrested on October 25, 2006, when he finished his shift at the border. According to records and testimony at trial, BASTIAN sought out a Vancouver escort service owner and paid her for sex in 2003 or early 2004. BASTIAN told the woman about his job and even wore his uniform to her brothel in Vancouver. In late 2004 and 2005, BASTIAN no longer paid for sex with the woman. Instead, in exchange for sex, he allowed her to cross the border through his lane on multiple occasions without checking her car for any contraband or referring her on to secondary inspection. The woman, who testified at trial, brought numerous large loads of BC Bud marijuana across the border by coordinating with BASTIAN as to which lane he was working so she could avoid detection. The woman bragged to her drug conspirators that she had a connection at the border which allowed her to easily get the drugs into the U.S. At trial prosecutors presented phone calls taped by Canadian law enforcement where the woman discusses with her drug supplier how her contact (BASTIAN) had checked records and she was not flagged in the system for inspection. However, the woman was stopped and arrested in April, 2006, with a load of oxycontin. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison. The investigation of BASTIAN’s activities followed her arrest.
Assistant United States Attorney Susan Roe told the court it “is a sad day at this courthouse when a federal official is being sentenced for bribery.” Ms. Roe noted that the case is also unusual as no border officer has been convicted of bribery in recent memory.
At sentencing Judge Robart noted that BASTIAN had demonstrated a “propensity to deny and blame others,” and that his testimony regarding “the nature, duration and frequency of encounters with the woman was not credible.” Judge Robart ordered BASTIAN to report to the U.S. Marshal’s Office to be taken into custody to begin serving his sentence.
The case was investigated by Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General and the FBI.
Assistant United States Attorneys Susan Roe and Nicholas Brown prosecuted the case.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.