Associate of Former Border Patrol Agent Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bribery
An associate of a former U.S. Border Patrol Agent (BPA) pleaded guilty to conspiring to accept money in return for helping to smuggle marijuana and other illegal drugs into the United States.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas Ryan K. Patrick, Special Agent in Charge Perrye Turner of the FBI’s Houston Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Juan Benavidez of the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection Office of Professional Responsibility (CBP OPR)’s Houston Field Office made the announcement.
Daniel Hernandez, 46, of Roseville, California, pleaded guilty on Feb. 5 to one count of conspiracy to bribe a public official before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy K. Johnson in the Southern District of Texas. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 9, before U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller, who accepted the plea on Feb. 8.
According to the plea documents, between 2013 and May 2014, Hernandez and the BPA agreed, and took overt acts, to facilitate the trafficking of illegal drugs, including marijuana, into the United States from Mexico on behalf of a drug trafficking organization (DTO). In exchange for cash payments, they provided an individual they believed to be a member of the DTO with CBP sensor locations, the locations of unpatrolled roads at or near the U.S.-Mexico border, the number of BPAs working in a certain area, keys to unlock CBP locks located on gates to ranch fences along the border, and CBP radios. In total, Hernandez accepted approximately $5,000 in cash in return for facilitating shipments of illegal narcotics into Texas without law enforcement detection.
The FBI with the assistance of CBP OPR, investigated the case. Trial Attorneys Rebecca Moses and Peter M. Nothstein of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Pearson and Arthur R. Jones of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.