Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mexican cartels corrupting more US border officials?

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By Mark Potter
NBC News

In El Paso, Texas, a major embarrassment for American law enforcement: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer Margarita Crispin is sentenced to 20 years in prison for selling out to Mexican drug traffickers.

"It was amazing to us to find out that Margarita Crispin received $5 million for her services to allow loads of marijuana to come through her checkpoint along the border," assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI, told NBC News.

In the Mexican drug war, U.S. authorities are finding a disturbing trend: an increase in American law enforcement officials corrupted by wealthy Mexican criminals who pay them to look the other way as illegal drugs and immigrants flow north into the United States.

"It is the single most debilitating factor in successful law enforcement on the border, and we do a horrible job of weeding that corruption out,” says retired DEA supervisor Anthony Coulson.

In the last five years, nearly 80 U.S. Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers have been arrested along the Mexican border, and according to federal authorities, hundreds more officials are under investigation.

“Once they cross the line, they are criminals, criminals that are in our uniform,” explains Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar.

Corruption runs deep

At a U.S. Senate hearing, it was revealed that Mexican cartel members are infiltrating American law enforcement. There was also testimony that during a hiring push that began five years ago to add thousands of Border Patrol and CBP officers, only 10 percent of the initial applicants were given polygraph tests.

Of those, 60 percent failed, raising concerns about the integrity of the others hired without screening.

"A very large percentage of those they don't test run into trouble within a year or two of being hired,” says Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark..

Along the border, the federal authorities aren't the only ones facing corruption problems. Local authorities, including sheriffs and police officers, have also succumbed to the lure of drug money.

In South Texas, former Sheriffs Conrado Cantu and Reymundo Guerra were jailed for helping Mexican smugglers, while in nearby Zapata County, Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez says corruption is rampant.

"It's greed, that's what it's been all the time, it's greed. It's just wanting that extra $10,000, $15,000, $20,000," Gonzalez explains.

Policing the police

To try to stem the corruption, President Obama recently signed a law requiring polygraph tests for all border patrol and customs law enforcement job applicants. Additionally, thirteen FBI anti-corruption teams now keep an eye on the 2,000-mile-long border, policing the police.

"There is no greater problem we are looking at within this organization. We cannot fail,” Aguilar declares.

Authorities insist the vast majority of border officers are honest and work hard in dangerous conditions, but they also say the better they become at stopping the smugglers, the more the Mexican cartels rely on corruption.

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  1. What about annual polygraph tests, just testing some when they are hired is a joke.

  2. Is this the same polygraph that Al Ames and the Green river killer passed?

  3. How embarrassing. Good idea...quarterly polygraphs!

  4. All they catch are the little fish, wheres the big guys?

  5. A friend of my older brother (a BP) was given $214k to let pass $8.4 million worth of methaphatamine and cocaine last summer from eagle pass, tx. to dallas. He moved to canada about two weeks after that happened.

  6. So why is Crispin's brother still working for CBP in El Paso?

  7. According to many morons that post here, only Mexican authorities are corrupt. How do you like them apples now?

  8. It is imperative that we come to terms. If we have, in Mexico, an escalated violence and a surmountable amount of corruption it is because there is a bigger corruption on the other side of the border. The side where the business is, there would not be any business in the U.S. if it was not so atractive to the Cartels, due to it's corruption.

    Come to terms couch commandos and let us start seeing things differently, together.Let us resolve this cancer one block (street) at a time, instead of finger pointing each other.


  9. The fox's are guarding the hen house. Most ICE personnel at the border can't even speak good English.

  10. So the FBI dude was surprised not that she took money but with the amount she got. I bet he did a bling, bling, dance.

  11. "A friend of my older brother (a BP) was given $214k to let pass $8.4 million worth of methaphatamine and cocaine last summer from eagle pass, tx. to dallas. He moved to canada about two weeks after that happened."

    Eagle Pass and Del Rio, they are too obvious, they don't check anyone....2 out of ten cars are checked at the check point outside Eagle Pass...don't even ask for IDs...oh well

  12. Squeezing my butthole can beat that polygraph.

  13. so why is that they only mention us border patrols that have hispanic last names???

  14. well after the revolution in '16 these will be the good old days.


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