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Press Release

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer indicted for depriving a U.S. citizen of rights

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Incident at port of entry leads to federal charges

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, announced today that Oscar Orrantia was indicted on Aug. 17 for willfully depriving the rights of a citizen of the United States. Orrantia, 36, of Santa Teresa, New Mexico, made an initial appearance in federal court today. On Aug. 19, Orrantia was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Professional Responsibility, Special Agent in Charge Office, El Paso, Texas.

According to the indictment, on June 18, 2019, at the Columbus Port of Entry in Luna County, New Mexico, Orrantia allegedly deprived the victim, identified as John Doe, of his constitutional right to be free from unreasonable seizures. The indictment also alleges that Orrantia’s actions resulted in bodily injury to John Doe.

“Those in whom we entrust the power and responsibility to enforce our laws have a paramount duty to protect the rights provided under the United States Constitution,” said U.S. Attorney Uballez. “We hold these rights sacred. Justice requires that we hold accountable those who abuse their positions and fail to uphold that responsibility.”

“CBP stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe,” said CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha. “CBP does not tolerate corruption or abuse within our ranks, and our Office of Professional Responsibility responded to this complaint in a thorough and timely manner.”

An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Orrantia faces up to 10 years in prison.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Professional Responsibility, Special Agent in Charge Office, El Paso, investigated this case with assistance from the Luna County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Marisa A. Ong and Mark Standridge are prosecuting the case.

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Updated August 23, 2022

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 22-185