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Press Release

West Texas Man Arrested, Charged with Bribing HSI Agent

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

EL PASO, Texas – A Seminole man was arrested Thursday in El Paso on criminal charges related to his alleged bribery of a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agent.

According to the criminal complaint, Pedro Thiessen, 70, failed to declare more than $10,000 when entering the United States at the Ysleta Port of Entry in October 2022.  Thiessen filed a petition to recover the funds and was interviewed by an HSI agent in January 2023 regarding the petition.  An affidavit attached to the complaint alleges that Thiessen offered to pay the agent an unknown amount of money if the agent assisted with the recovery.  The agent reported the offer to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

The affidavit alleges that Thiessen again proposed a monetary offer to the agent during a phone call on Feb. 6.  On Feb. 15, the agent arranged a meeting with Thiessen for the following day.  According to the court documents, Thiessen presented the agent with $1,000 at that meeting and was immediately arrested.

Thiessen is charged with bribery of public officials. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Francisco B. Burrola of the HSI El Paso Division made the announcement.

HSI and ICE OPR are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Osterberg is prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Updated February 21, 2023

Public Corruption