U.S. Border Patrol Supervisor Charged with Violating Civil Rights of Legal U.S. Resident Who Made Child-Rape Allegations Against Supervisor’s Family Member
Assistant U. S. Attorney Alessandra Serano (619) 546-8104
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – October 9, 2015
SAN DIEGO – U.S. Border Patrol Supervisory Agent Martin Rene Duran was arrested yesterday and charged with using his official position to create bogus alerts in a border-security law enforcement database so that a lawful U.S. resident and frequent border crosser would be repeatedly detained by Customs and Border Protection officers, sometimes at gunpoint.
According to a complaint unsealed in federal court today, Duran’s target was a man who had instigated a criminal investigation in Mexico of Duran’s brother-in-law, Raymundo Estrada Figueroa, who is accused of raping and abusing the man’s 11-year-old son for two years. Estrada was a boyfriend of the child’s mother at the time; the abuse is alleged to have taken place between 2010 and 2013 in Tijuana.
Estrada is charged in the same complaint as Duran with two counts of traveling from the United States to Mexico to engage in illicit sexual conduct. One count relates to the border crosser’s son; the other is in connection to that boy’s half-brother.
Duran, a supervisor at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station, was taken into custody at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry; Estrada was arrested at his Chula Vista home. Both appeared in federal court today; both will remain in custody until a detention hearing on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at 2 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo.
The border crosser who reported the sexual abuse of his son is identified in court documents only by his initials, “R.C.” to protect his son’s identity. According to the complaint, R.C. - a Mexican national and legal U.S. resident with no criminal background - was sent to secondary and detained on five occasions at the San Ysidro border crossing in 2013 based on the false alerts entered by Duran into the system known as TECS, which is the principal database used by officers at the border to assist with screening and determinations regarding admissibility of arriving persons.
Duran’s alerts indicated, among other things, that R.C. was “known to carry firearms,” and that he was “associated with recent threats to CBP personnel.” Every time he was detained, no weapons or contraband were found and R.C. was released. On one occasion, R.C. and his wife were removed from their vehicle, handcuffed, separated from their minor children, escorted to the security office and put in a holding cell for almost two hours before they were released, the complaint said.
R.C. believed Duran was trying to pressure him into dropping the charges against Estrada in Mexico, the complaint said.
Duran is charged with five counts of unlawfully causing the detentions while acting under color of law, thereby willfully depriving R.C. of his Constitutional rights to liberty and freedom from unreasonable seizures, and three counts of falsification of records and obstruction.
In a separate complaint also unsealed yesterday, Duran was charged with firearms violations related to the purchase of guns in Arizona. The complaint alleges that Duran falsely claimed under penalty of perjury that he was a resident of Arizona when, in fact, he lived in Chula Vista.
“This type of corruption is in a category all by itself,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “When an officer turns on those he is supposed to protect, and uses his significant power against law-abiding people who had faith in him, it’s a special kind of betrayal.”
"This investigation was a collaborative effort among a number of federal law enforcement agencies and demonstrates our commitment to address allegations of criminal misconduct by CBP employees,” said Kathryn Butterfield, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Affairs for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in San Diego. “Every CBP employee shares responsibility for promoting integrity and for meeting mission demands while sustaining the trust and confidence of the public we serve. An overwhelming majority of CBP personnel perform their duties with honor and distinction on a daily basis. However, CBP does not tolerate those who tarnish the badge and the agency’s reputation.”
“This investigation was conducted by agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility, Homeland Security Investigations, Custom and Border Protection Office of Internal Affairs, and the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General. “We will move aggressively to investigate and bring to justice those who have allegedly betrayed the public’s trust. Guarding against illegal or unethical behavior is not an option; it’s an obligation we have to the people we serve.”
Martin Rene Duran Age: 46 Chula Vista
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Case Number: 15mj3002
Falsification of Records/Obstruction, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 15
Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 242
Case Number: 15mj2957
Illegal Transportation of Firearms, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 922(a)(3) and
924(a)(l)(D) Maximum Penalty:
Raymundo Estrada Figueroa Age: 48 Chula Vista
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Case Number: 15mj3002
Two counts, Travel in Foreign Commerce to engage in illicit sexual conduct, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2423(c)
Homeland Security Investigations
Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Office of Professional Responsibility
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives
*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.