Posted on July 19, 2012

Customs Officer Let Hundreds Enter U.S. Illegally

Greg Moran, UT San Diego, July 16, 2012

For almost two years, Customs and Border Protection Officer Hector Rodriguez was the key part in a smuggling ring that brought in hundreds of undocumented immigrants through the San Ysidro Port of Entry, according to federal court documents.

Rodriguez, his longtime friend, Gerardo Rodriguez, and Vanessa Moya, all made their initial federal court appearance in San Diego Monday. They are charged with conspiracy and smuggling.


{snip} A complaint detailing the charges said that since September 2010 through last week the trio made at least 37 crossings into the U.S. in vehicles loaded with undocumented immigrants.

One person who was smuggled and became a confidential informant said the fee for a “guaranteed crossing” was $10,000. Another informant smuggled at a later time paid $15,000. {snip}

FBI Special Agent Terry Reed Jr. wrote in the complaint that the term “guaranteed crossing,” when used by smuggling organizations, indicates that a federal Customs and Border Protection employee is involved.

The same term was used in a smuggling organization that federal authorities allege was headed by former Border Patrol agents and brothers Raul and Fidel Villarreal in 2005 and 2006.


In Rodriguez’s case, authorities said he would tell Gerardo Rodriguez, 42, and Moya, 29, what lane he was scheduled to work in.

Then when vehicles driven by the pair would come through the lane, Hector Rodriguez would enter bogus information about the vehicles — including false names and birth dates for the driver — into the agency’s computers.