MARCH 10, 2006
Two high-ranking U.S. Border Patrol supervisors who helped create a successful anti-smuggling program, have been arrested for smuggling migrants for a Mexican trafficking organization in exchange for bribes.
Federal authorities say the agents, Mario Alvarez and Samuel McClaren, raked in more than $300,000 in cash to release apprehended immigrants. They have been indicted on eight counts that include conspiracy to bring in aliens for financial gain, conspiracy to commit bribery and filing false tax returns.
Apparently, the U.S. agents worked for a renowned Mexican smuggling organization called Javier Sanchez-Perfino. One news report says that the agents drove a member of the smuggling ring in a U.S. government vehicle from an immigration processing center in El Centro to a Wal-Mart parking lot in Calexico. The man was then let go in exchange for $6,000 cash.
The El Centro Border Patrol sector, which stretches from California’s Imperial Valley to the Arizona border, apparently needs to do some house cleaning. Last year an agent pleaded guilty to smuggling several hundred pounds of marijuana in a Border Patrol vehicle and two other agents were caught smuggling 1,300 rounds of ammunition into Mexicali.
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