More Reports of Widespread Border Patrol Corruption

[Sources: Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General | Graphic: The Washington Post]

Over the past week or so, several articles regarding skyrocketing corruption within Customs and Border Protection ranks have been published in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

CBP corruption (formerly U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Customs) has been an ongoing trend I’ve been watching for the better part of the last decade so it’s good to see main stream media outlets starting to cover this issue in greater depth as well.

The first I heard about this topic (or at least paid attention to it) was in 2002 via a series of articles published in the Tucson Citizen and Arizona Daily Star:

Since 2002, not much has changed but the problem has grown steadily worse as the Washington Post & L.A. Times articles appearing below can attest to. Additionally, the problem with proper background screening of newly hired agents has been around for a long time. It’s not a new phenomena. In fact, as early as 1998 agents within the Border Patrol were speaking out against the agency’s hiring practices and some were even resigning in disgust.

A sampling of some of the internal jokes that used to float around Border Patrol circles (before the reality of the situation became far too painful) include the following:

“We have lowered our standards to an all-time low to fill positions”

“Think we won’t hire you? Think again”

“We have recently hired known criminals, drug smugglers, gang bangers, people out of drug rehab, pizza delivery guys (from a national chain), people who write on a fifth-grade level, and, yes, even illegal aliens.”

I make note of the corruption and poor hiring/training trends within the pages of Roadblock Revelations because of the wide latitude Customs And Border Protection agents have while working in the field and the routine contact such agents have with the general public via suspicionless checkpoints and roving patrols throughout the Southwest and more recently in the Northern states as well.

Previous articles on CBP corruption published within these pages appear below:

Excerpts from recent articles in the Washington Post and L.A. Times follow:

Border Patrol is grappling with misconduct cases in its ranks

"In the last 18 months, five Border Patrol agents have been accused or convicted of sex crimes or assaults. The latest case involved the alleged assault of a suspected drug smuggler."

By Ken Dilanian, Tribune Washington Bureau
September 7, 2010

“Reporting from Del Rio, Texas —
One by one, Border Patrol agents took the witness stand in the federal courthouse here last week to testify against a fellow officer, their faces creased with anguish.

By their accounts, Agent Jesus Enrique Diaz Jr., a husband and father with seven years on the job, tortured a 16-year-old drug smuggler two years ago by wrenching his handcuffed arms upward as he pressed a knee into his back. In an effort to make the boy reveal where he had hidden marijuana bundles near the Rio Grande, Diaz also kicked him and dropped him face-first on the ground, agents testified.

No one stopped the alleged assault as the 110-pound juvenile screamed, but some agents talked afterward about the “disgust” they felt and reported it. “I knew that what he was doing was wrong,” Agent Gabriel Lerma testified.

The result was a rare Justice Department prosecution of a Border Patrol agent on civil rights charges, and the latest indication of problems within the Border Patrol, which has grown rapidly in recent years to become the second-largest police agency in the country with sworn officers after the New York Police Department.”

Continue reading

Woman’s links to Mexican drug cartel a saga of corruption on U.S. side of border

By Ceci Connolly
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 12, 2010

….Corruption is on the rise in the ranks of U.S. law enforcement working the border, and nowhere is the problem more acute than in the frontline jobs with Garnica’s former employer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, according to federal investigators. Garnica’s stiff sentence represented a rare victory in the struggle to root out tainted government employees.

Homeland Security statistics suggest the rush to fill thousands of border enforcement jobs has translated into lower hiring standards. Barely 15 percent of Customs and Border Protection applicants undergo polygraph tests and of those, 60 percent were rejected by the agency because they failed the polygraph or were not qualified for the job, said Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), who oversees a Senate subcommittee on homeland security.

The number of CBP corruption investigations opened by the inspector general climbed from 245 in 2006 to more than 770 this year. Corruption cases at its sister agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, rose from 66 to more than 220 over the same period. The vast majority of corruption cases involve illegal trafficking of drugs, guns, weapons and cash across the Southwest border.”

Read more

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