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Saturday, January 1, 2022

La Joya, Texas: Former Border Patrol Agent Pleads Guilty To Drug Trafficking Charge

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

A former Border Patrol agent pleaded guilty to a federal drug trafficking charge on Friday.

During a hearing Friday morning, Oberlin Cortez Peña Jr., 22, of La Joya pleaded guilty to attempting to aid and abet the possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

Agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Professional Responsibility arrested Peña in July after conducting a sting operation.

“He should have known better,” said attorney Rick Salinas of Mission, who represents Peña. “There’s no excuse.”

Former Border Patrol Agent Oberlin Cortez Peña Jr., 22, of La Joya. (Photo courtesy of the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office.)

Salinas said Peña made bad decisions in part because of age and immaturity.

“He just took on too much too soon,” Salinas said. “He had no business being a Border Patrol agent at 18.”

Peña came from a family of Border Patrol agents.

His father worked for Border Patrol. And in July, when Peña was arrested, his brother was in the process of becoming a Border Patrol agent.

“Believe it or not, his dad, when he applied for Border Patrol, he objected to it,” Salinas said. “Because he said he was too young. And then they took him in, and he fell prey to immaturity.”

Border Patrol assigned Peña to the Falfurrias checkpoint in Brooks County.

At some point, Peña started accepting cash from Edwin Alejandro Castillo, 23, of Sullivan City to waive cars through the checkpoint. Court records don’t reveal when Peña started accepting bribes.

In March, though, the Alamo Police Department arrested Peña on a drunken driving charge.

Border Patrol placed Peña on administrative duty. Castillo and his associate, Jose Luis Duran, 25, of Mission, needed to find another corrupt Border Patrol agent.

They approached someone with the initials “M.O.,” according to the indictment. Court records don’t identify “M.O.” by name.

Duran met “M.O.” in a Taco Bell parking lot and handed over $2,000.

On June 14 — three days after Castillo and Duran paid “M.O.” — they sent two cars through the Falfurrias checkpoint. Brooks County sheriff’s deputies stopped both cars and arrested the drivers.

That same day, the Office of Inspector General started investigating allegations that a Border Patrol agent “had possibly accepted money for facilitating alien smuggling through a checkpoint.”

The Office of Inspector General set up a sting operation.

Agents had an informant approach Peña about smuggling cocaine through the checkpoint. Peña met the informant at La Plaza Mall on June 22.

“The cooperator discussed that he had 5 kilograms of cocaine to smuggle through the USBP FLF checkpoint,” according to the criminal complaint against Peña, which uses the acronyms “USBP” for Border Patrol and “FLF” for Falfurrias. “PENA agreed to be paid $1,000 USD for conducting countersurveillance. PENA also agreed to check the USBP schedule to see which BPAs would be working on Friday, June 25, 2021, at 6:30 a.m. PENA was willing to transport the 5 kilograms of cocaine if there were rookie agents working at the time.”

Peña also provided the informant with tips about how to hide cocaine and trick drug-sniffing dogs.

After the cocaine passed through the checkpoint, the informant met Peña at the Whataburger in La Joya and paid him $1,000.

They coordinated another cocaine shipment on July 9.

“PENA advised that he would let the cooperator know which lane to have the cocaine load vehicle drive through around 6:20 a.m., after PENA crossed through the USBP FLF checkpoint,” according to the criminal complaint. “PENA instructed the cooperator to have the cocaine load vehicle drive through lane 3.”

After the cocaine passed through the checkpoint, the informant met with Peña and paid him $1,000.

“PENA then drove to the USBP Station in Falfurrias, Texas, to work as a BPA,” according to the criminal complaint.

Agents arrested Peña when he arrived.

Peña is scheduled for sentencing on March 1. He faces 10 years to life in federal prison.

Progress Times

16 comments:

  1. Damn. A thousand dollars? They get bought off cheap. And when you do it that shit is a Damocles sword hanging over your head. And your ass is the trade bait if your man gets busted. Cost/benefit analysis says hell fucking no. But he was young so there's that.

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    1. Youd be surpised how cheap. Here in prison the usual going rste when "cracking" an officer is 500$ a "plug" aka Bundle which is dually 2 Pedasos(mexican ounces) of Heroin, or 1 oz of Crystal because the size difference. But think about it. If you bring a plug everyday youre making 500 a day on top of your regular paycheck. Do it 4 times a week, 16 times a month thats roughly 8k a month or 90k+ a year untaxed CASH money
      Now, some charge more but usually not much more depending on what prison and how they have to brig it in and some bring more at a time an can make Thousands a day doing it. I know many cops who do it closer to retirement because they are not suspected as much as newer guys. It also allows them to save a good chunk of money nefore retirement. Many bave their own vicios and addi tions and meed to fund them many younger ones want to live lavish lifestyles above their paycheck means.

      Now just imagine corrupt officials out there? I mean yeah 1000 is a small amount . I personally would ask for 1k a car no less or 1k an individual because they are making a killing on their end

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    2. What you're talking about which state prison or federal BOP or Mexico?

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    3. There's 2 yard hard Sosa ranting again. Let me guess, are you really using a prison cell to comment on BB? Dumb af. It can add years extra to your sentence, if you hit with one. Doubtful you're really using one from a cell to comment on BB...I mean, what homie? Did you do a month on a two yard, now you think you know how everything in prison works? Let's be for real, you don't know shit, you're using a prison phone to comment on BB (supposedly), and you rant about shit you have no clue about. Am I right? I bet you're just using your abuela's cell in her basement. While she wipes your ass and feeding you your favorite emparedado de queso.

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  2. Fuked up his career, then again why is Border Patrol accepting yungsters. No pension, no pay on holidays, no free medical all gone.

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    Replies
    1. His family's all CBP agents

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    2. I have read that Border Patrol is so desperate for workers, that it is 'deemed acceptable' for up to 25% of applicants to fail polygraph tests prior to hire.

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    3. Yeah look it up, there is always a shortage of border atrol agents. Shit if i was a BPA i would take advantage and make my money while i can. Youre never goimg to stop drugs or human smuggling might as well profit from it

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    4. Great resume for a croocked cop.

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  3. Criminals always pay cheap or nothing cheapskates But always want profit and crash Dummies to do their work .

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  4. Border patrol also messed up in sending him near his hometown ; they should assign rookies at least 500 miles away .

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  5. Immature? More like a conniver...gleaning info from his family and licking his chops for the potential 💰

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  6. Punks like him make the Rio grande valley look bad along with law enforcement. Makes criminals think they all have a price because once you get a cent from a scumback Bandido.he owns you and will blackmail you if you play along and then refuse; best thing to do just do your job and arrest if you have to and they will respect you if they don't then tough shit because it takes a monster to defeat a monster

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  7. When bad guys get confronted by cops who are worst then them they cry police brutality but it wasn't brutality when they went after unarmed people bunch of punks when they don't an ak or other punks behind them all cowards in and out of prison.especially when government confiscate their money.

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