This post was originally published on this site

Government Agency News ICE breaking news

SAN DIEGO – On July 3, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was charged in an indictment with accepting bribes to allow vehicles containing drugs, such as fentanyl and methamphetamine, to pass through the border into the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations investigated this case alongside the FBI, DHS’ Office of Inspector General, Customs and Border Protection – Office of Professional Responsibility and DEA.

“This significant arrest demonstrates great teamwork and coordination by HSI and its federal law enforcement partners to dismantle transnational criminal organizations and root out alleged corruption in our government,” said Special Agent in Charge for HSI San Diego Chad Plantz. “HSI is committed to protecting our homeland and the people of this country.”

Leonard Darnell George is charged along with Mario Angel Gutierrez, Esteban Galvan and four other unnamed defendants with conspiracy to import and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances in the Southern District of California and elsewhere. According to the indictment and other public records, the defendants allegedly coordinated the smuggling of methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine, and heroin from Mexico with an ultimate destination of the United States.

George is charged separately with receiving bribes. The indictment alleges that he did 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.

Gutierrez is charged separately with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

“The indictment alleges that Officer George broke the very drug trafficking laws that he was supposed to enforce,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our agency partners in the Southern District of California are committed to rooting out and punishing corruption.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team and investigating agencies for their excellent work on this case.

“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. Today’s arrest reinforces our commitment to protecting the integrity of DHS personnel, programs, and operations,” said Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari, Ph.D.

“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.”

“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 Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego Sidney Aki. “The San Diego Field Office will cooperate fully as the case proceeds.”

The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

A detention hearing is scheduled for July 6, 2023, at 10 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara Major.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

ICE breaking news HSI San Diego, multiagency case results in Customs and Border Protection officer indicted for receiving bribes Government Agency News