Ex-Border Patrol Agent Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes From Smugglers

Ex-Border Patrol Agent Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes From Smugglers

Border Patrol agents monitor migrant crossings in Jacumba, Calif., on Jan. 10, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Marc Olson

Marc Olson

2/2/2024

Updated: 2/2/2024

A former U.S. Border Patrol agent pleaded guilty in federal court Feb. 1, admitting he smuggled illegal immigrants and drugs into the country in exchange for cash.
Hector Hernandez, 55, said he used his official position to open fences and allow people and narcotics to enter from Mexico, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office press release.
“Agent Hernandez betrayed his badge and his country,” said U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath in the statement. “Instead of providing protection from smugglers and drug traffickers, he joined them.”
Mr. Hernandez said he gave smugglers a tour of the border, pointing out the best areas to cross and revealing the locations of monitoring devices and cameras, the statement said.
He also admitted to opening border fences for illegal immigrants on at least five occasions for payments of $5,000 each time.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office account of his arrest, on May 9, 2023, Mr. Hernandez met with someone he believed to be a drug trafficker and arranged a deal: Mr. Hernandez would pick up a bag of narcotics hidden near the border and bring it to the trafficker for $20,000.
The trafficker was an undercover agent, who along with colleagues loaded the bag with fake methamphetamine, real methamphetamine, and a tracking device.
When Mr. Hernandez fetched the bag from a storm drain near the border fence, he drove it to his home in Chula Vista, California. Then, he took the bag and drove to meet with the supposed trafficker. He was arrested at that meeting.
Agents searched his home and found nearly $140,000 in cash and 9 grams of cocaine. Mr. Hernandez said at least $110,000 of the cash was earned through drug trafficking and bribery.
He faced charges of distribution of methamphetamine and receiving bribes and will be sentenced April 19.
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Marc Olson

Marc Olson

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Marc J. Olson is a longtime Southern California journalist who has worked at the San Diego Tribune, Orange County Register, and Los Angeles Times. He is originally from Minneapolis.

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