Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Brownsville Customs Officer Arrestested for Aiding Smuggling

As reported by the Brownsville Herald and Houston Chronicle


A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer accused of helping a drug smuggler cross 3,000 pounds of marijuana into the United States on Monday appeared for the first time before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan in Brownsville.


Authorities said Jose Luis Zavala, 38, of Brownsville, was arrested Friday and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and bribery of a public official. Zavala has been a CBP officer for seven years, assigned to the Brownsville area.


Zavala was denied bail and ordered to remain in custody of the U.S Marshals Service. He is scheduled for a preliminary examination on Thursday.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Texas, Zavala was paid to allow vehicles filled with marijuana to cross the international bridges.

The USAO complaint says on Nov. 19 Zavala was working at the GatewayInternationalBridge when a man appeared in an inspection lane manned by Zavala. The driver reportedly presented a U.S. passport, but then “unbeknownst” to Zavala the van was randomly selected for a secondary inspection. Zavala allegedly later told agents that he believed the driver of the van was not the owner of the passport.

The driver fled and ran back to Mexico, leaving the vehicle filled with 3,002 pounds of marijuana. Court records allege the marijuana was not concealed in the van or made to appear as legitimate cargo.

Court records show that on Nov. 22 , agents at White Sands High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force were notified that a pedestrian linked to the  smuggling attempt was at the Brownsville & Matamoros Port of Entry, attempting to enter the U.S.

Agents interviewed the man, whose identify remains confidential. The confidential source told agents that he and others had been paid $360 to provide their passport card to a drug cartel in Mexico to be used by drivers of marijuana load vehicles to gain entry in the United States.

Court records show the confidential source told investigators they had met with a U.S. immigration officers that went by the name of “Pepe” in Mexico. The confidential source reportedly gave a physical description of Zavala and his vehicle and identified him from a photo lineup created by agents.

Zavala's phone was checked by investigators and contained at least three text messages they contend were part of a discussion regarding smuggling loads and payment.

The texts, noted in the court papers, appear to indicate that Zavala is a cousin with whoever texted him, and that they were working for an uncle.

"Pepe I was told by my uncle that the thing was lost," reads one of the texts after the marijuana was seized. "Where do I go or what do I say when I cross?"

The text was sent by a person who was allegedly the real owner of the passport card that was left behind in the van.

If convicted, Zavala faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison for the conspiracy charge as well as a maximum of 15 years for bribery.

21 comments:

  1. He isn't a Border Patrol Agent. He's a Customs Officer. Get your facts straight.

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    1. Dmn. going all hard on the reporter lol

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  2. Not a Border Patrol Agent. Bridge is Customs.

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  3. You mean CBP Officer. Not BP Agent.

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  4. These agents got everything wrong here, but still there's something fishy. If I was the "Uncle" aka The Owner of the weed, I'm not gonna present my US crossing connect (US Custom) to the guy that provided me with a passport in exchange for money..hell no!!..well I guess the truth will come to light in court.

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  5. The title of this article, which was first written based upon another article which I did not wind up using, has been changed due to it being inaccurate. Thank you to the readers who caught this error and my apologies for not catching this mistake before I published the article.

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  6. Exactly what I said the other day. The drug cartels INFILTRATE the US CUSTOMS once they are inside they let the thugs SMUGGLE the dope into the United States in all types of transports Busses, Trucks, Cars anything that can travel through the border. Easy dirty money for the cartel dogs.

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  7. Who cares he broke the law!!! Hang him!!

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  8. Errr,did anyone mention he is also right handed,shoe size 9,waist 36 not 40 and he can juggle 4 balls,not 3,could you please get your facts straight...OK

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  9. This guy is the tip of the iceberg. This is why they can never legalize it - too much money to be made on the US side by cops and pols. They gotta keep this sweet deal going so they can cash out and retire. If I was one of them I wouldn't be tempted by the drugs or the money - the mamasitas would be my downfall!!!!

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  10. How about a mug shot? Anyone? Those fools make a lot of money for what? Are you a citizen? It ain't right? They drive nice cars also. I find most of them are ok and if your white they almost never make you take your hat off?

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    1. Totally agree, Where is the mug shot?

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  11. If you can't stop somebody making 60 thousand a year from being involved. How you gonna stop some broke 17 year old.when the cartel pays three times more money

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  12. It is a lot of money, you would not say no to it would you???
    --then there are all the other guys that would not say no to the money...
    --not everybody can live from off-shored money and casinos, you sctatch it where it is.

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  13. http://m.krgv.com/news/Judge-Denies-Bond/30303966

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  14. He isn't the first, and he won't be the last. Who knows how many of these guys are involved.

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    1. There must be hundreds of them all along the large border. & I bet most of the infiltrated are mexicans borned in the USA they got families down there. They should leave only billingual whites working as customs or other hispanos non mexicans.

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  15. Easy money strikes again.

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  16. Border patrol..or customs..all the same when it comes to..being found..guilty..in the court of law..for..drug smuggling..the whole law..its a system..

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