We would be fools to think that law enforcement on this side of the border is immune from the corruption that saturates Mexico, as these two stories illustrate:
Corruption adds to problems on border
Even as it works to beef up security, the U.S. government is turning up hundreds of agents who may already be compromised
By STEWART M. POWELL
June 20, 2011, 5:22AM
hat I could do to avoid being caught. ... She provided information."
Rookie agent Raquel "Kelly" Esquivel - no relation to Diego - is serving 15 years in a North Texas federal prison, one of many federal law enforcement personnel targeted by Mexican drug cartels in criminals' widening campaign to infiltrate or buy turncoats within the expanding ranks of 20,700 Border Patrol agents and 21,000 Customs and Border Protection officers stationed at airports, seaports and land crossings.
Investigations of border security personnel have expanded in each of the past four years, with at least 1,036 inquiries under way, including some 267 focused on suspected corruption. Additional corruption-related investigations are conducted by the FBI or internal affairs agents within the agencies....
"The cartels buy off police chiefs and elected officials in Mexico, and now they're trying to buy off our Border Patrol agents who are our first line of defense," said McCaul.
Other border protection officers in Texas and elsewhere also have faced federal corruption charges in recent years.
CBP technician Martha Alicia Garnica, 44, is serving a 20-year sentence after pleading guilty last year to charges in El Paso that she conspired to import more than 220 pounds of marijuana and smuggle undocumented aliens and offered or paid $5,500 in bribes to Customs and Border Protection officers to turn a blind eye.
Former CBP officer Alex Moses Jr., of Eagle Pass, is serving five years of probation after pleading guilty to smuggling about 6 grams of cocaine from Mexico in 2008.
And former CBP officer Sergio Garza, 36, was sentenced in Laredo in 2008 to three years in prison for aiding the smuggling of an undocumented alien into the U.S. - one of at least 10 undocumented immigrants whom he admitted allowing into the country....
Lie detector test backlog
Yet challenges remain. Only 22 percent of new hires are subjected to lie detector tests amid expanding enlistments and shortages of polygraph specialists. The agency is expanding the number of polygraphers from 35 to 52, but it will be at least 2013 before it can polygraph all new hires.
Efforts also lag in identifying compromised law enforcement officers already within the ranks. An estimated 60 percent of veteran law enforcement officers initially fail periodic lie detector tests required every five years to verify honesty and backgrounds, officials said. Nearly 15,200 officers who have failed the routine polygraphs await follow-up background checks.
Even with all the precautions, senior officials concede they can only guess at the breadth of infiltration or corruption by Mexican cartels.
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Raided Mexican Ranch Linked to U.S. Drug War Corruption
Posted by Bill Conroy - June 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Former CIA Asset Claims U.S. Special Forces Assisted Mexican Soldiers In Assault on Stash Site
The recent raid of a stash site on the Mexican side of the border suspected of containing a cache of guns and/or drugs is drawing attention once again to the U.S. border town of Columbus, N.M. — where 11 people, including the mayor, police chief and a village trustee, were recently indicted on gun-running charges.
The Mexican stash site was raided this past Wednesday evening, June 15, according to former CIA contract pilot and New Mexico resident Tosh Plumlee, who was present at the scene taking photos.
The stash site — actually two warehouse buildings on a ranch just south of the border and some 20 to 30 miles east of Palomas, Mexico, which borders Columbus — was allegedly raided by the Mexican military in cooperation with a U.S. military special-operations task force, Plumlee asserts. That Pentagon task force has been active inside Mexico and along the border region for several years and provided intelligence and other unspecified support for the recent raid, according to Plumlee....
Prior press reports also claim that Columbus is awash in narco-trafficking activity.
As far back as 2009, the Associated Press published a story about Columbus with the following headline: “Drug smugglers allegedly move into N.M. town: Police say Mexican traffickers’ money revving up local economy.”
Ironically, one of the individuals quoted in that AP story saying he planned to get tough on crime was Columbus Police Chief Angelo Vega, who has since become one of the Columbus 11 (a group of village residents that also includes the mayor and a village trustee) who were indicted earlier this year on gun-running charges.
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