CBP officer charged with bribery
McALLEN, Texas – A 46-year-old Alamo man is set to appear in federal court on allegations he accepted a bribe, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Oziel Cantu is charged in a criminal complaint filed today. Authorities took him into custody last night. He is expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Juan F. Alanis tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.
The charges allege Cantu accepted $15,000 in exchange for facilitating the unlawful importation of narcotics into the United States from Mexico.
Cantu worked at the Pharr Port of Entry and assisted an individual smuggle cocaine that was concealed in a vehicle, according to the charges. He allegedly instructed an individual to use a certain inspection lane at a specified time on Aug. 19, so he could allow the vehicle to pass through inspection.
Cantu allegedly believed that individual had ties to a drug trafficking organization. However, that person was actually an undercover officer.
Authorities took Cantu into custody after arriving to accept the $15,000 payment, according to the complaint.
If convicted of bribery, Cantu faces up to 15 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
The Department of Homeland Security - Office of Inspector General and Customs and Border Protection - Office of Professional Responsibility conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frances Blake and James Sturgis are prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.