A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer was charged Monday with accepting bribes to allow vehicles containing drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamine to pass through the border into the U.S.
Officer Leonard Darnell George is charged along with Mario Angel Gutierrez, Esteban Galvan, and four other unnamed defendants with conspiracy to import and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances in the Southern District of California and elsewhere.
According to the indictment and other public records, the defendants allegedly coordinated the smuggling of methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine, and heroin from Mexico with an ultimate destination of the United States.
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Officer George is charged separately with receiving bribes.
The indictment alleges that he did directly and indirectly corruptly demand, seek, receive, accept, and agree to receive items of value in return for being induced to permit narcotics laden vehicles entry into the United States in violation of his official duties, that is failing to enforce controlled substances and customs laws of the United States.
Gutierrez is charged separately with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
“This significant arrest demonstrates great teamwork and coordination by HSI and its federal law enforcement partners to dismantle transnational criminal organizations and root out alleged corruption in our government,” said Chad Plantz, Special Agent in Charge for HSI San Diego. “HSI is committed to protecting our homeland and the people of this country.”
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“The vast majority of CBP officers are highly skilled, hard-working professionals dedicated to our mission of protecting the American public and we do not stand for those that would tarnish our badge,” said Sidney Aki, Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego. “The San Diego Field Office will cooperate fully as the case proceeds.”
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