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Press Release

Customs and Border Protection Officer Charged with Using Unreasonable Force at Calexico Port of Entry

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

Assistant U. S. Attorney Christopher P. Tenorio (619) 546-8413


SAN DIEGO – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer Marcos Valenzuela is charged in an indictment unsealed today with using unreasonable force on an individual who had applied for admission to the United States from Mexico.

According to the indictment, Valenzuela encountered the individual, identified only as “J.L.,” on August 16, 2019, while Valenzuela was on duty at the Calexico West Port of Entry. During the course of the inspection, Valenzuela allegedly deprived the individual of the Constitutional right not to be subjected to unreasonable force. The indictment also alleges that Valenzuela’s actions resulted in bodily injury to the person seeking admission into the U.S.

“The protection of the civil rights of all persons entering the United States remains a high priority of the Justice Department, and our office in particular,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Grossman. “All allegations of excessive force by law enforcement officers are investigated thoroughly and carefully reviewed to ensure public confidence in our commitment to redressing violations of Constitutional rights.” Grossman praised prosecutor Chris Tenorio and agents from the FBI and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Professional Responsibility for their excellent work on this case.

“No one is above the law and this indictment should assure the public that the FBI is committed to rooting out any public servant who violates their oath – regardless of where they work,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner. “Actions such as the ones alleged in this case violate an officer’s oath, the public's trust, and damage law enforcement's reputation. I want to thank Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility for their collaboration and partnership in bringing this case to fruition.”

Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) Special Agent in Charge Elizabeth Cervantes stated, “All CBP employees are required and expected to abide by all laws they enforce.  CBP stresses professionalism, honor, and integrity in every aspect of its mission and CBP OPR is fully committed to investigating all allegations of misconduct while supporting the men and women who proudly uphold their duties to serve and protect.”

The defendant was arraigned on the Indictment before U.S.  Magistrate Judge Ruth Bermudez Montenegro. He is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Court Judge Janis L. Sammartino on May 21, 2021 at 1:30 p.m., for a motion hearing. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Christopher P. Tenorio.

DEFENDANT                                               Case Number 21cr1056-JLS                            

Marcos Valenzuela                                         Age: 29                                   El Centro, CA


Deprivation of Rights under Color of Law – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242

Maximum penalty: Ten years of imprisonment and $250,000 fine


U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Professional Responsibility

Federal Bureau of Investigation


Updated April 14, 2021

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: CAS21-0414-Valenzuela