Richard Marosi, Los Angeles Times, Jan. 16, 2007
A U.S. Border Patrol agent has been arrested on suspicion of being part of a Tijuana-based trafficking organization that smuggled illegal immigrants into Orange County, U.S. law enforcement sources said.
Because the indictment was not scheduled to be unsealed until this morning, few details were available. Robert Harvey, a Border Patrol spokesman, confirmed that an agent was arrested last week. According to sources, the agent is Jose Olivas, a 10-year veteran.
Since 2004, about a dozen of the 200 cases nationwide have involved California-based U.S. customs officers or Border Patrol agents.
Olivas was allegedly part of a ring that included a Colombian-born smuggler who was arrested last week. That man, James Fierro Herrera, was pulled over by federal agents in Oceanside with three illegal immigrants in his vehicle, according to the criminal complaint.
Olivas’ role in the organization involved letting the smugglers know when the San Clemente Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 5 would be closed, so the illegal immigrants could be brought across safely, according to a source.