138 U.S. Customs and Border Personnel Arrested for Corruption Since 2004

Edwin Mora, CNS News, May 18, 2012

There have been 138 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees arrested since 2004 for engaging in acts of corruption including drug and alien smuggling, in part, due to Mexican drug cartel influence.

During the same period, over 2,000 CBP employees, which include Border Patrol and Customs agents, have been charged for criminal acts other than corruption including off-duty behavior. CBP is a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Thomas Winkowski, acting deputy commissioner for CBP, made these revelations in written testimony provided to the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management on May 17 during a hearing examining ethical standards at DHS.

According to Charles Edwards, the DHS inspector general who testified alongside the CBP deputy commissioner, the influence of Mexican drug cartels has reached into the ranks of CBP and contributed to corruption at the agency.


CBP employs about 60,000 people, of which 40,000 work at the U.S. borders.


“The drug trafficking organizations have turned to recruiting and corrupting DHS employees,” Edwards testified in his prepared remarks.

“The obvious targets of corruption are Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers who can facilitate and aid in smuggling; less obvious are those employees who can provide access to sensitive law enforcement and intelligence information, allowing the cartels to track investigative activity or vet their members against law enforcement databases,” he added.


Edwards also said that the cartels’ “brutality” is making his job of investigating corruption difficult.

“Our investigations are complicated by the brutality the cartels use to control their organizations and coerce witnesses; and the sophistication and advanced technologies available to organizations with unlimited money,” he told lawmakers.


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  • anonymous_amren

    The whole organisation is corrupt from the president down.

  • The__Bobster


    Hispanic DA in Texas Charged With Corruption, Allowing Murderer To Escape
    By James Fulford on May 21, 2012 at 12:29pm

    Via Overlawyered:

    DA Running for Congress Is Indicted; Feds Say He Ran His Office as a Criminal RICO Enterprise
    ABA Journal
    Posted May 7, 2012 5:15 PM CDT
    By Martha Neil

    A sitting district attorney in South Texas has been federally indicted, accused of working with his former law partner and others to operate the local justice system as a criminal racketeering enterprise.

    Cameron County District Attorney Armando R. Villalobos, who is currently running for election to a seat in the U.S. Congress, is accused with his former law partner, Eduardo “Eddie” Lucio, and others of participating in a criminal scheme to deprive the public of the honest services of their public officials and derive a profit from the operations of the judicial system, according to the Brownsville Herald.

    The indictment (PDF) says the DA took more than $100,000 in bribes to minimize and settle criminal cases, the Associated Press reports. Among other claimed misconduct, he is accused of obtaining an $80,000 payoff in exchange for arranging for a convicted murderer to be given 60 days to get his affairs in order before reporting to prison, during which time he fled.

    I couldn’t figure out, offhand, the name of the murderer mentioned who had fled, but Villalobos’s campaign material gives a list of the the people he’s had convicted:

    Aggressive Prosecution of Violent Offenders and Sexual Predators (some recent examples):

    Melissa Lucio, Capital Murder, Death Penalty AssessedManuel Velez, Capital Murder, Death Penalty AssessedJohn A. Rubio, Capital Murder, Death Penalty AssessedAlfonso Granados-Lucas Murder, Life SentenceAngela Camacho, Capital Murder, 3 Life SentencesJorge Arrellano, Intoxication Manslaughter, 4 Life SentencesArturo Rodriguez, Murder, LifeJose Miguel Vasquez, Jr., Murder, LifeJavier Chavez, Murder, LifeFrancisco Gonzalez, Murder, LifeRaul Coronado, Jr., Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, 7 Life SentencesNorberto A. Lucio, White Collar Crime, 235 Years TotalAbraham Mar, Attempted Capital Murder, 101 Years TotalJames E. Pearson, 2 Counts Intoxication Manslaughter, 100 Years TotalGilberto A. Lucio, White Collar Crime, 100 Years TotalMartin A. Lucio, White Collar Crime, 80 Years TotalSergio Gonzales, Aggravated Assault on Peace Officer, 77 Years TotalAdrian P. Contreras, Murder, 77 Years TotalMiguel A. Alvarado, Aggravated Robbery, 70 Years TotalCecilio Mendoza, Attempted Capital Murder, 62 Years TotalLuis Carlos Mares, Murder, 60 Years TotalIsrael Avila, Murder, 40 Years TotalJesus De Leon, Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, 50 Years TotalAlberto Lopez, Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, 45 Years TotalJose M. Lopez, Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, 32 ½ Years TotalCharles Ruth III, Burglary of a Habitation, Aggravated Assault, 35 Years TotalJessie James Rodriguez, Murder, Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity, 40 Years TotalJuan M. Hinojosa, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, 40 Years TotalRodolfo O. Duran, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, 40 Years TotalRichard Hernandez, Murder, 35 Years TotalJuan M. Rivera, Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, 25 Years TotalI am not picking and choosing Hispanic names—all the names on Villalobos’s list are Hispanic,  except for drunk driver James E. Pearson.

    • Detroit_WASP

      It’s like my granny from Kentucky used to say.  “It ain’t a good idea to have the fox watch the hen house. ” 

    • Up to my neck in CA

      Where ever you find a Mexican you find corruption and crime (Mexico).

      Who ever thought putting these “people” in positions of power and authority was a good idea, needs to be deport right along with these scum bags.

  • Johnny Reb

    The drug war is a joke but the laugh’s on us. We’re paying for it.   

    For every corrupt custom agent or patrol officer there are probably 2-3 lawyers or supervisors getting away with their own corruption.

    There would be no “drug problem” without corruption.  Every tweeker arrested could eventually lead to the arrest and conviction of major kingpins . . . all you have to do is roll up the chain.  But somehow, few investigations ever get anywhere and when one big player goes down, another takes his place.

    It’s a rigged system.

  • ageofknowledge

    I would wager almost all. The political corruption that’s been caught along the border has almost all been Hispanic so far.

  • This is what happens when you fill your ranks with anchor babies. Their first loyality will always be to famila and Mexico. If they get the chance to fill their pockets with a little extra side cash while on the job then that’s icing on the cake. This is accepted practice in Mexico, which is what these people are; citizens of Mexico.What else would you expect from a culture of corruption….

  • JackKrak

    Wait – you mean we can’t trust Mr. Martinez, Mr. Sanchez, Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Garcia to “protect” the border and stop their cousins from crossing back and forth with their, um, “packages”????

    I’m shocked – well and truly shocked.

  •  “”There have been 138 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees arrested since 2004!””

    THAT IS WHAT you get when the MAIN hiring criteria

  • Frank

    Seems that Janet should do a little better job of vetting her guys.

  •  Risk and reward.  The reason the illicit drug trade is so lucrative is because it’s illegal and such laws are enforced enough to make that industry risky enough.  If the laws go away, the risk goes away, and if the risk goes away, the money goes away. 

    It is my contention that the current level of drug laws and enforcement thereof is in a happy median between “too little” meaning too little risk ergo profits, and “too much” meaning way too risky to engage in, in order to maximize drug profits.  By design.