Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Enemy Within: Bribes Bore a Hole in the U.S. Border

Posted by DD Republished from New York Times

 

 WASHINGTON — In 2012, Joohoon David Lee, a federal Homeland Security agent in Los Angeles, was assigned to investigate the case of a Korean businessman accused of sex trafficking. 

 Instead of carrying out a thorough inquiry, Mr. Lee solicited and received about $13,000 in bribes and other gifts from the businessman and his relatives in return for making the “immigration issue go away,” court records show. 

Mr. Lee, an agent with Homeland Security Investigations at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, filed a report saying: “Subject was suspected of human trafficking. No evidence found and victim statement contradicts. Case closed. No further action required.” 
 
A plea agreement for Joohoon David Lee, a homeland security agent, details his request and acceptance of a bribe from a Korean businessman.

 But after another agent alerted internal investigators about Mr. Lee’s interference in another case, his record was examined and he was charged with bribery. He pleaded guilty in July and was sentenced to 10 months in prison. 

 It was not an isolated case. A review by The New York Times of thousands of court records and internal agency documents showed that over the last 10 years almost 200 employees and contract workers of the Department of Homeland Security have taken nearly $15 million in bribes while being paid to protect the nation’s borders and enforce immigration laws. 

Bribes Take Different Forms Cash isn’t the only method of payment. Here are some other items that were given as bribes: 


 Richard Elizalda
  • The Customs and Border Protection officer was given a 2000 Lexus.
  • Mai Nhu Nguyen

    The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officer received 100 egg rolls for a party.
  • Guadalupe Garza

    The Customs and Border Protection officer received Cialis pills and a "sexual device".
  • James Dominguez

    The Immigration Customs Enforcement special agent received three trips to Thailand.
 These employees have looked the other way as tons of drugs and thousands of undocumented immigrants were smuggled into the United States, the records show. They have illegally sold green cards and other immigration documents, have entered law enforcement databases and given sensitive information to drug cartels. In one case, the information was used to arrange the attempted murder of an informant. 

 The Times’s findings most likely undercount the amount of bribes because in many cases court records do not give a tally. The findings also do not include gifts, trips or money stolen by Homeland Security employees. 

Throughout his campaign, President-elect Donald J. Trump said border security would be one of his highest priorities. As he prepares to take office, he will find that many of the problems seem to come from within.

 “It does absolutely no good to talk about the building of walls or tougher enforcement if you can’t secure the integrity of the immigration system, when you have fraud and corruption with your own employees,” said an internal affairs official at the Department of Homeland Security who spoke on the condition of anonymity. 

Although Homeland Security employees who have been caught taking bribes represent less than 1 percent of the more than 250,000 people who work at the department, investigators say the bribes and small numbers of people arrested and charged with bribery obscure the impact corruption can have on border security and immigration enforcement.

 “Any amount is bad, and one person alone can do a lot of damage,” said John Roth, the inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security. “It doesn’t have to be 
widespread.” 

Law enforcement experts say the bribing of border and immigration agents is not surprising. As security along the border has tightened with the addition of fences, drones and sensors, drug cartels and human smugglers have found it increasingly more difficult to operate. 

Is it treason? No. Some people accused of accepting bribes were caught passing information to cartels and foreign criminals. It is not considered espionage or treason because they did not pass the information to a foreign government or state actor. 

 “So it makes sense that cartels would target and try to corrupt border interdiction agents,” said Fred Burton, chief security officer at Stratfor, a global intelligence company, and a former deputy chief of counterterrorism at the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service. “It’s very similar to the tactics and tradecraft used by foreign intelligence services during the Cold War.” 

Homeland Security officials, acknowledging that internal corruption is a problem, have hired more internal affairs investigators, provided ethics training and started to administer polygraph tests to new applicants, along with countersurveillance training to employees so they can recognize when they are being targeted by criminal organizations. 

 Customs and Border Protection, which has had dozens of its officers arrested and charged with bribery, said it had made additional changes to combat corruption. Jeh Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, in 2014 gave authority to the agency’s internal affairs office to conduct criminal investigations for the first time. And Mark Morgan, a former F.B.I. agent who had investigated corruption on the border, was put in charge of the Border Patrol. 

Johnny Acosta, a Customs and Border Protection officer, he was was sentenced to eight years in prison for bribery and drug smuggling.

 “Polygraphs have made it so we don’t hire people with significant problems,” said R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of the customs agency. “The bigger problem is what happens to people who are already on board. These changes address that.”

 Records show that the bribing of Homeland Security employees persists. In 2016, 15 have been arrested on, convicted of or sentenced on charges of bribery. In February, Johnny Acosta, a Customs and Border Protection officer in Douglas, Ariz., was sentenced to eight years in prison for bribery and drug smuggling. Mr. Acosta, who was arrested as he tried to flee to Mexico, took more than $70,000 in bribes and helped smuggle over a ton of marijuana into the United States.





 In a plea agreement, Johnny Acosta, a Customs and Border Protection officer, admitted to taking bribes and participating in a scheme to smuggle marijuana across the United States-Mexico border. 

 Last month, Eduardo Bazan, a Border Patrol agent in McAllen, Tex., was arrested and accused of helping a drug trafficking organization smuggle cocaine. According to court records, Mr. Bazan admitted to receiving $8,000 for his help. José Cruz-López, a Transportation Security Administration screener at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, P.R., was arrested around the same time and accused of taking $215,000 in bribes to help smuggle drugs. 


Ivhan Herrera-Chiang,

   Corruption investigators said the case of the former Border Patrol agent Ivhan Herrera-Chiang illustrates the damage a single compromised agent can cause. In 2013, he was sentenced to 15 years for providing sensitive law enforcement information to drug cartels. 

 Mr. Herrera-Chiang, who was assigned to a special undercover unit targeting the cartels in Yuma, Ariz., provided maps of hidden underground sensors, lock combinations to gates along the United States-Mexico border and the locations of Border Patrol traffic checkpoints to an individual who provided them to the cartels. The cartels used the information to bypass Border Patrol agents and transport methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana into the country, according to court records.
 

 Ivhan Herrera-Chiang, a former Border Patrol agent who is known as La Mujer, was accused in a criminal complaint of passing information about a confidential informant to a member of a drug cartel who planned to have the informant killed. 

 Mr. Herrera-Chiang also entered law enforcement databases on his work computer to run drug seizure checks and even provided information on confidential informants in Mexico. That information included one informant whom federal law enforcement officers were able to locate before he could be killed, court records said. Mr. Herrera-Chiang admitted to receiving about $4,500 in bribes for his efforts, but his co-conspirator put the amount between $60,000 and $70,000.

 “Corrupt C.B.P. law enforcement personnel pose a national security threat,” a Department of Homeland Security report released in May concluded. The report also revealed numerous problems with efforts to root out corruption among Border Patrol and customs agents. The report said the “true levels of corruption within C.B.P. are not known. 

” Convicted former border and immigration agents give different reasons for taking bribes, from financial troubles to drug use. But for many, it was simple greed. 

 Homeland Security Bribe Documents Records show that Border Patrol officers and customs agents, who protect more than 7,000 miles of the border and deal most directly with drug cartels and smugglers, have taken the most in bribes, about $11 million. 

 But the issue of bribery extends well beyond front-line agents at the border. Department of Homeland Security employees who enforce immigration and customs laws and provide citizenship benefits and aviation security have also been arrested or indicted on and convicted of charges of taking bribes. 



 Last month, Daniel Espejo Amos, a former immigration service officer at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in Los Angeles, pleaded guilty to taking $53,000 in bribes from immigration lawyers on behalf of 60 immigrants who were not eligible to become naturalized citizens of the United States. Mr. Amos certified that the immigrants met the requirements for citizenship, even though one person’s English-language skills were so poor that copies of test answers were given to him so he could memorize them for a naturalization interview. 

 Transportation security officers and screeners with access to secure areas of airports that could be used to smuggle weapons and even carry bombs onto planes have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes as well, records show. 

 Mr. Roth, the inspector general, said rooting out corrupt employees is a top priority for his office, which gets 300 to 400 cases a year alleging corruption. The office takes about 100 of the cases and sends the rest to internal affairs offices at ICE, Customs and Border Protection, the T.S.A. and Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

The Border Corruption Task Force, which is directed by the F.B.I. and includes agencies from the Department of Homeland Security as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration, has also pursued dozens of corruption and bribery cases that have ended in convictions. 

 But the Homeland Security report released in May said Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency of the Border Patrol, currently lacks proactive programs to weed out corruption. Instead, the report said, the agency based its investigations on reporting from other employees, other government agencies or the public, by which time the corruption could have festered for decades. 

The agency also needed to more than double the number of internal affairs criminal investigators to 550 from about 200, the report said. It said the agency’s 2017 budget calls for an increase of only 30 investigators. 

James Tomsheck, the former head of internal affairs at Customs and Border Protection, said many of the problems the agency is facing with corrupt agents had to do with inadequate prehiring screening programs. 

Background checks and polygraph tests have failed to weed out actual cartel members who were hired by the Border Patrol in some instances, he said.

73 comments:

  1. 100 eggs rolls for a party. NOW that is a good bribe😂

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    Replies
    1. Thats just selling yourself short.

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    2. lol. I'm with you on that one 7.12

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  2. If you take an oath as a public official in the US and are found guilty of any of the above crimes, life sentences should be mandatory.

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    1. Agreed. But I have a feeling some of these scum bags would take the life sentence.

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    2. How do we know these guys were not working undercover for DEA and will simply disappear into witness protection? Happens all the time. Lot of CI's out there too. Double agents as well.

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  3. Put all of them through periodic screening and vetting not just before hiring.

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  4. que culero el nickname "la mujer" pobre carbon en el bote sera la perra de todos

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  5. Good article, in a way all of us are corrupt. We've been bought out, sold out, sent down the river. Oh well. But the ones who insist they are golden, untouchable, and beyond reproach, to me, they are the worst.
    Happy New Year BB.

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    1. I don't think you understand the definition of the word corrupt.Not when you say we are all corrupt.Not even when you say"in a way"we are all corrupt..To be corrupt you would need a degree of power or responsibility that you are willing to trade to benefit yourself or others or both.If you are trying to say we are all sinners then yes,I agree..None of us are saints,but corrupt is a different thing all together.

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  6. These punks make the process harder for law abiding (Hispanic) youngsters to get a position in Homeland Security especially as CBP. That spike test has turned down the applications of many truthful people.

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    1. Anybody accepted that makes the grade will have an opportunity at any federal job, it is still one good thing about this sorry excuse of a country, even the kids of la chapa or el mayate or la mencha can apply, no kickbacks needed, what they do after they get hired is all up to them, but I would recommend anybody for a job like that, not me, not my children,
      --Dora la Celadora, aka el sol perdido can have that job

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  7. I think Trump needs to offer a big snitch fee to all agents that snitch on one another . That way they will watch one another closer . Some dipshit living way beyond his means will be noticed and looked at closer . Lock these crooked agents up . To hell if it aint treason! That's whats wrong with the USA is that this day and time treasons behavior is just shrugged aside . My grandfather fought in ww 1 and my father fought the Japanese . The men that built this country knew how traders were dealt with . The Rosenberg's found out about treason didn't they . I want a picture of that person that sold out for 100 egg rolls . They need to scorned across the county.

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    Replies
    1. I'd like to see what you look like

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    2. The Rosenbergs were tar and feathered by friend and foe, a long story, but a story of suppossed criminals or patsies versus a government trying to sell the cold war to the american people that knew the Rosenbergs were innocent of having passed the atomic bomb "secret" to the russians...
      "The Essential Lessons of the Rosenberg Case"
      Desertpeace.Wordpress by Michael and Robert Meeropol
      --And don't believe for a minute this is the only lie your government has ever told or fabricated to sell you a bill of goods...

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    3. 6:49 . There are nay sayers on every big case , suicide or anything that big enough to talk about . How many suicides have you known of that lots of people belive there is some kind of conspiracy . There people who theorize that sirhan sirhan was some type of "manchurian candidate" . I seriously doubt they were innocent . To big of a case , the government got it right .

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    4. 3:37 when you pay the elephants a visit , look around Ill see what you look like

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  8. Stop hiring minorities!!!

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    1. Yeah hire white American soldiers like timothy mchveigh...lol

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    2. Shut the f up, not all minorities are greedy people.

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    3. you're a idiot anybody of any race can be corrupted, FACT is goverment officials are the most currpted indivduals out of all

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    4. 25 more years white boy and you will be a minority. Love the brown because there is going to be lots of it.

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    5. 10:15 that's what the projections say but I think if we try hard enough we can speed it up a little..Make more Black and Brown baby's ppl please..Start tonight.

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    6. @1244 Move back to Europe if u have a problem "minorities". Should b less Mexicans

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  9. The only thing new is that people might be aware of the real problem, the cartels ARE MADE IN THE USA. We just like to see the other way and blame it to the neighbor.

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    1. According to Americans it is never their fault for their own addiction. They will never quit consuming drugs and this drug war will only keep costing billions on a no win situation.

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    2. Cartels are cartels made wherever there is product. Addicts are addicts whom consume the product. There is equal blame to go around on both sides of the border. There you go. An American who believes it's equal faults.

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    3. 5:27 You make it sound as if ALL Americans are addicts. Addicts make up a small percentage of Americans as a whole. If the supply is there so will the demand whether it's here in North America or any where else in the world. It seems you prefer to deflect and place all blame on the addicts. Blame should be placed equally on both sides of the market.

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    4. America spends more money on drugs than the rest of the continent (America btw) combined, so yes, we have the largest representation of drug use in the world, simple facts that create complex problems elsewhere.

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  10. Jimmy Burke of goodfellas fame once said bribing a cop is like feeding elephants at the zoo, all you need is peanuts

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha, and that is all over the world!...

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  11. im going to pay them a visit.

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  12. Has anyone heard of the CJNG threatening to torch every gas station in Jalisco by 10 pm next Friday over the high gas prices? They're absolutely nuts!

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    1. @2;14 An announcement by the AG office later in the day said that post on social media was a fake story and was not posted by CJNG.

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    2. 2:41 wuuuh, that AG must really have the inside track to the CJNG and La Mencha, dd...

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    3. @6;52PM I doubt he has an inside track to CJNG but he probably has the technical expertise in his office to track a FB or Twitter post.

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    4. @ 6:52 PM And beyond what DD commented, the "threat" was for yesterday, Friday night the 30th, and .... nothing happened.

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    5. lies, all lies. no group is over the goverment not even sinaloa. none. if you mess with them theyll go after you. and theyll win. so you know its obvious thats not going to happen. or they also extract gasolines from pipelines and if the price go over they make good maoney selling cheap doesnt make sense. and yes CJNG does that and cobra cuotas. extortion ect. i dont think they are that stupid. and they arent what all people expect, ive seen then rise and then fall one after another, they wont be the exception.

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    6. And that would only result in Even Higher Prices duh.

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    7. You could see some action on mexico gas stations already,
      but have next week to make sure,
      --mexico ya esta hasta la madre, now police and military and legislators, and cab drivers, businessmen, opposition politicos, affraid that their kickbacks are going to have to be spent on gasoline, even if they have gas vouchers for the rest of their lives...

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  13. Im glad CBP is making the process hard for everyone, but for gods sake most spoiled apples are in the force already! The Rio Grande Valley is one place to have in watch, alot of those dudes who work for CBP act like narcos in the clubs. Please clean the garbage already in the force!

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    1. Hey I'm in RGV. I have a GED and I make $100k plus. I can act like a narco cause that's my culture. But I won't sell out or be crooked cause ain't no one gonna pay me what DHS pays me.

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    2. If you consider narcos your culture that means your culture sucks. They are basically terrorists and you're saying it's ok to act like one?

      Are you saying that you are an officer?m there in RGV? The fact that you act like them already makes you corrupt

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    3. Yes, the combined BI and polygraph examination does make it hard to get in CBP/BP., but this isn't a foolproof way to stop this problem. Because once you're in clean you can do some serious damage,

      The author even states that the BI and polygraph examination failed to stop the infiltration of cartel members in a few cases and that the true level corruption isn't known.

      The ones who got caught are the stupid ones, the smart ones know to profit and keep low. How many haven't been caught?

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    4. To 7:04 pm, I hope that reply was sarcasm. I'm Hispanic, I'm educated and I am a professional who works at CBP. I do my job diligently and honorably every single day. So speak for yourself and your shitty GED.

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    5. I'm sure he meant he drives a truck with shiny wheels, listening to corridos, and wearing a rolex. That's what gets the pushy in RGV and that's what agents act like off duty. He probably drinks Buchanan and Hennessy at the club, so the people stereo type him. But he protects the nation. No diffrent than a soldier who comes back from Iraq and buys a hummer with 24's and blasts rap music. In fact half of cbp are vets and have are on disability double Dippin rolling in dough $$$. This allows the lavish life.

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    6. Anyone who wears a Rolex doesn't know anything about watches.

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    7. Like I said I have a GED. And I'm a an agent not a Watch salesman. Yes I work in RGV sector. I never claimed to know watches. But I like shiny things.

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    8. 11:29 I apologize to you for being snotty with my Rolex remark.

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  14. Catch them in the act, shoot them on the spot.

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  15. Human nature has always proven we all have a price. A price for everything. And I do stipulate EVERYONE. We will sell our souls to fortune our selves. Mankind will even dismember ones limbs and oneself if reward is greater to him or beloveds. Monetary benefits have always been a role since the beginning of civilization. POWER, PRESTIGE and ENRICHMENT has been mankinds drug of choice. Its innate in all mankind to disregard the moral values governments, religion , dignity and self- respect. As long as coin is king , impurities will exist.

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    1. 4:20 we are not all being crucified for "the Crimes of Obama" or for inventing "weapons of mass distrucshun" to have ourselves a little war for profit, or for mass murdering and genocide...
      --Or for senator Trey Gowdie personal private server he uses for government business...
      --So, stop blaming the sins of a few motherfackers on all of us "inherently imperfect humanity" and go for the necks of some real heavyweights, boy

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  16. Wishing everyone a Happy new year. Be safe and sound. And to all those who enduldge with a little party favors. Keep in mind that line you snort or needle you injected for that high tonight or any night has devastated many even killed.
    Best wishes BB continue to educate and hopefully implore common sense to all.

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  17. All the drugs passing thru the US also passed thru Mex. Why did not the Mexicans stop them? Because bribes! Why dont US CBP/cops/DEA etc stop them? Because bribes! ... or are US cops less trained, worse equipped or more stupid than their mexican counterparts?

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    1. Not exactly, we use more than Mexico can send, we import from Asia, south America, Africa and elsewhere, so our police is either more stupid or more corrupt. But not all, there are also great people in the force.

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  18. Do they just pick these guys from the street? I don't understand how someone can do his job and just be bribed. Doesnt it take them like a year before they join. Why drain it all away after so much. Idiots, unpatriotic cowards

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    Replies
    1. Money makes the world go around...

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  19. This piece shows just how cheap some people will sell their souls for. You have an agent willing to take a chance on losing their job and freedom for a bunch of fucking egg rolls, now that's a true moron. Then, we have a man who knowingly gave information that he knew would be used to murder another human, now that's a complete scum bag. I say I wouldn't take a bribe for fear of losing my freedom but who knows if somebody credible threatened the lives of my family things might change, but luckily I'm not in a field where I have to worry about such things, I had the opportunity to apply for those kinds of jobs and declined for a whole host of reasons but my families safety was one of those reasons.

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  20. Dear 12:41, Traders good. Traitors bad. CDB

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  21. There is no light with out darkness. - El Sol Perdido

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    1. 10:07am What a cheesy platitude. I hope you're troll.

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    2. 10:07
      Ethical conformity is cheap - just like your comment.

      Delete
  22. ok make it treason or the RICO stat. if it isnt under that already!

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  23. i am ok. homeland security agent who ever. health is most important. i got my camera right here. c.f.h

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  24. The thing with Customs is that a lot of people they hire to work on the Mexican border already have ties to the cartels. Either a sibling, uncle or cousin is involved and sooner or later they will be as well if not already. This is especially true in the small border towns where EVERYBODY is related to each other. They hire locals to work at the ports what do you expect. Now even wit the polygraph exam they are still getting through

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    1. No excuse, they are scumbags, period.

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  25. And Trump wants this "Yuge Wall"...
    Our problems won't end with a "Yuge Wall".
    It will continue as long as there are people willing to look the other way for the all mighty dollar...

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    1. Convince the 46 millions of ... That voted for him, people don't read history, history repeats all over again.

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  26. http://ktar.com/story/1405501/fbi-launches-campaign-crack-down-corruption-us-borders/

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    1. @9:48 Thank you Tu Fren for the link. The story is now up on front page.

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  27. corruption exists everywhere...not just the border...the FBI should know that...how many of their agents have been caught selling info to the Chinese and or Russians??? quitteeeee a fewwwww.....

    ReplyDelete

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