FORMER BORDER OFFICER CONVICTED OF TRADING SEX FOR ACCESS TO THE U.S.
Jury Deliberates Two Days Before Returning Guilty Verdict Following Five Day Trial
DESMONE BASTIAN, 33, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, was convicted today in U.S. District Court in Seattle of Accepting a Bribe. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on three of the charges and found BASTIAN not guilty of Aiding and Abetting the Importation of Marijuana. 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. At trial, 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. The jury deliberated for two days following a five day trial. BASTIAN faces up to 15 years in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge James S. Robart on April 7, 2008.
“We are pleased that the jury found Mr. Bastian guilty of the criminal conduct at the heart of this case,” said United States Attorney Jeffrey Sullivan. “The integrity of our borders is too important to be compromised by the taking of illegal bribes be it money, sex or other items of value.”
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 2001 or 2002. 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.
The case was investigated by Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General and the FBI. Assistant United States Attorneys Susan Roe and Nick 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.