(Brownsville, Texas) A 40-year-old Border Patrol officer, 12-year veteran Sergio Lopez Hernandez, was arrested this week for alleged involvement with an illegal alien and drug smuggling operation.
Federal agents apprehended Hernandez while he was on duty at the Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios.
Federal agents initially received reports of a smuggling operation in October. Subsequently, investigators set up two successful undercover operations to gather evidence and court documents indicate that Lopez Hernandez received money for every illegal alien he allowed through his checkpoint, allegedly $500.
According to court documents, on Wednesday federal agents set up surveillance at the bridge and recorded Lopez Hernandez allowing the entry of four vehicles previously identified as those used for smuggling undocumented immigrants. The vehicles were intercepted and Alonso Banda, Estrada Lopez and Mejia Fajardo were arrested. The occupants of the fourth vehicle fled into Mexico.
The vehicle driven by Mejia Fajardo contained 15 kilograms of cocaine, according to the criminal complaint.
Lopez Hernandez, Javier Alonso Banda, Jose Estrada Lopez and Francisco Mejia Fajardo, were charged with smuggling illegal aliens. Lopez Hernandez and Mejia Fajardo were also charged with smuggling drugs and with intent to distribute.
I'll make a wild guess that corruption among Border Patrol agents is more common than reported. The temptation of easy money from cash-rich drug cartels is hard to resist.
To be fair, though, I'd wager that the overwhelming majority of Border Patrol agents are honest professionals working under terrible circumstances while sometimes feeling abandoned by their management. I salute them.