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CBP officer charged on 4 counts for ‘conspiracy to import controlled substances’

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(The Center Square) – A Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General investigation has resulted in charges against six defendants including a Customs and Border Protection Officer with conspiracy to import and distribute controlled substances.

The illegal substances were smuggled in a coordinated effort. It is alleged that U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer George allowed vehicles containing drugs such as methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine, and heroin to pass through the border from Mexico into the U.S. and accepted payment to do so.

“The vast majority of CBP officers are highly skilled, hard-working professionals dedicated to our mission of protecting the American public and we do not stand for those that would tarnish our badge,” said Sidney Aki, Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego. “The San Diego Field Office will cooperate fully as the case proceeds.”

With an average of approximately 62,400 employees, CBP is the largest law enforcement agency in the country. Internal reports show that less than 1% of CBP employees are arrested for alleged offenses.

The alleged perpetrators were arrested on Monday on charges that can total 30 years of imprisonment if convicted.

“The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to aggressively investigate all allegations of corruption,” Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari, stated emphasizing that the arrests “reinforce our commitment to protecting the integrity of DHS personnel, programs, and operations.”

A release by the US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of California did not detail how the infractions were discovered but a CPB Integrity and Accountability Report reveal “CBP uses a variety of accountability mechanisms such as annual financial disclosures, random drug testing, and the constant monitoring of CBP’s various information technology (IT) systems to help detect potential violations of CBP’s Standards of Conduct.” Additionally, information from internal and external audits, inspections, and investigations “ensure a strong culture of integrity and .. maintain public trust and confidence.”

CBP Officer George faces the heaviest sentences in the indictment which revealed he directly and indirectly corruptly demand, seek, receive, accept, and agree to receive items of value in return for being induced to permit narcotics laden vehicles entry into the United States in violation of his official duties. He is additionally charged with receiving bribes.

“It is the responsibility of all government employees to operate with the utmost integrity and do their best to foster and maintain the public’s trust,” said FBI San Diego Field Office Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy. “Anyone who violates that trust will be held accountable for their actions.”

U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman disclosed that “The indictment alleges that Officer George broke the very drug trafficking laws that he was supposed to enforce. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our agency partners in the Southern District of California are committed to rooting out and punishing corruption.”

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