FEBRUARY 16, 2007
A corrupt U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer who accepted bribes to allow illegal immigrants through his checkpoint received less than half the jail sentence of the two Border Patrol officers who intercepted a Mexican drug smuggler in 2005.
For years Michael Gilliland, a former Marine and 16-year border agent, allowed hundreds of illegal immigrants into the United States through his Otay Mesa checkpoint in San Diego in exchange for thousand of dollars in cash. The federal officer teamed up with various civilians who would pay him to smuggle Mexicans through border lanes under his supervision. Last June, federal prosecutors indicted Gilliland and five others with conspiracy to bring illegal aliens and bribery.
This week Gilliland was sentenced to a mere five years in federal prison for his felonies, while two fellow Border Patrol officers serve more than twice the time for preventing a self-described Mexican drug lord from entering the country with a truckload of marijuana.
Ignacio Ramos and Jose Campean were punished for intercepting a vehicle containing 743 pounds of marijuana while guarding the Mexican border near El Paso in February 2005. The admitted drug smuggler, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, tried to flee and one of the agents shot him in the buttocks though he still got away.
Federal prosecutors actually went into Mexico and offered the drug dealer immunity to testify against the veteran agents who were subsequently convicted on charges of causing serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm and violating the drug smuggler’s civil rights.
Ramos and Campean were sentenced to 11 and 12-year prison terms and a few weeks ago Ramos was violently beaten in jail by a group of illegal immigrant inmates who chanted “kill the Border Patrol agent” in Spanish.
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