Though federal officials wouldn't relate any specific cases, there is anecdotal evidence that Mexican smuggling cartels have recruited people to join border-protection agencies to further their illegal enterprises.

James Tomsheck, the CBP's assistant commissioner for internal affairs, told the New York Times in December 2009 that there have been "verifiable instances where people were directed to CBP to apply for positions only for the purpose of enhancing the goals of criminal organizations. They had been selected because they had no criminal record."

Tomsheck continued that "several prospective hires" were turned away after CBP officials suspected what was going on and that "several recent hires" were under investigation — suggesting that such cartel recruits have made their way in.

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Eric Cantu stands at the U.S.-Mexico border, marked here by a fence of steel poles to keep out cars.
Monica Alonzo
U.S. Border Patrol Agent Eric Cantu stands at the U.S.-Mexico border, marked here by a fence of steel poles to keep out cars.
A Border Patrol truck advertising the federal agency during a Customs and Border Protection job fair in Tucson.
Monica Alonzo
A Border Patrol truck advertising the federal agency during a Customs and Border Protection job fair in Tucson.

All these problems are supposed to be remedied over time with President Barack Obama's signing of the Anti-Border Corruption Act last January 4. The law requires CBP officials to perform polygraph tests on all prospective employees and to conduct ongoing background checks. The problem is, agencies don't have to be in full compliance until January 2013.

Meanwhile, political pressure to beef up border security has added several thousand inadequately trained and screened agents to the nation's border-protection force.

Even with the new law looming, CBP's website notifies applicants only that there is "a high probability you will be subject to a polygraph examination."

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas), who introduced the Anti-Border Corruption Act, tells New Times that CBP officials "should have been doing [proper screening] all along, but they were not complying with their own rules and regulations."

Moran believes that federal lawmakers are placing too much emphasis on polygraphs and not enough on training.

"They're unreliable," he says of polygraphs. "There is a reason why they're not allowed in court. And anyone who is a true criminal isn't going to have guilt, and the exam won't ferret them out."

Federal officials' failures to better screen potential employees made it possible for Yamilkar Fierros to enlist in the nation's border-protection ranks.

In September 2009, just more than a year after joining the Border Patrol, Fierros was paid $5,500 by a drug trafficker for a map of the San Rafael Valley detailing roads, trails, and a list of 174 government sensor locations in the desert near Sonoita, about 30 miles north of the Mexican border. He also agreed to help move a load of drugs from Patagonia to Tucson.

He was arrested the next month, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 20 months in prison in May.

The rising corruption among CBP officers opens the door to more than criminal syndicates smuggling drugs, weapons, and immigrants into the country. Terrorists can sneak into the United States using the same smuggling routes that cartels and coyotes have used for decades.

The GAO report detailing weakness along the U.S. border checkpoints also highlighted that in 2008, three people linked to terrorism were among immigrants caught trying to slip into the country.

The audit offers no specifics about these three suspects. However, Said Jaziri, a radical Muslim cleric, traveled from Tunisia to Tijuana and sneaked into California before he was caught.

In January, U.S. border authorities arrested Jaziri, whom they found in the trunk of a BMW bound for San Diego. He had been deported three years earlier from Canada for lying on his application for refugee status.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Jaziri took a flight from Africa to Europe, then to Central America and Chetumal, Mexico. From there, he took a bus to Tijuana and allegedly paid $5,000 to smugglers to get him over the border.

Following a guide on foot, Jaziri and a Mexican immigrant jumped the border fence near Tecate and trekked overnight through rugged back country to the spot near San Diego where he was picked up by the BMW driver. He was caught after witnesses saw him climb into the trunk of the car and alerted police.


FBI spokeswoman April Langwell tells New Times that investigators get tipped off about potentially corrupt officers through confidential informants, suspects in other crimes who want to cut deals, or colleagues who suspect their co-workers are involved in shady activity.

Federal investigators plant undercover agents and host joint task forces to tempt the bad officers out of hiding. Operation Lively Green started almost a decade ago in December 2001, but it still is producing results as prosecutors pursue cases against dozens of public officials, including from the Arizona Army National Guard, the Arizona Department of Corrections, the Nogales Police Department, and the Border Patrol.

Charles K. Edwards, Homeland Security's acting inspector general, told a U.S. Senate committee in June that violent Mexican drug gangs, such as Los Zetas, have become increasingly involved in corrupting DHS employees.

"Obvious targets of corruption are . . . CBP officers; less obvious are those employees who can provide access to sensitive law enforcement and intelligence information, allowing the cartels to track investigative activity," Edwards told federal lawmakers.

One of the men caught in Lively Green was John Miguel Castillo, an unremarkable Border Patrol officer who manned a border entry point in Nogales.

During his four years working for the federal agency, the inspector had seized only two loads of drugs. As he toiled presumably to keep drugs out of the country, his brother Damian worked with Mexican drug traffickers to smuggle them in.

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My Voice Nation Help
39 comments
Bobby
Bobby

We know Monica, its' always about the "corrupt", Americans, never about the corrupt Mexicans. Nothing new here.

Luv82hotrod
Luv82hotrod

shoot a few of the illeagles and smugglers and leave theire bodies right there by the fence. that might stop some of them. problem solved

malapai
malapai

What a flock of ignorant assholes.

John Swanson
John Swanson

Regarding your article about drinking age in the USA.Ware do you get the figure of age 24 in some states?it is 21 in all states. There is no such thing as 24yrs old drinking age here.If your so concerned plz check ur facts THANK YOU. this is for TO A CONCERNED CITIZEN

malasangre
malasangre

"wide spread array and disillusions." that does sound scary.wtf is it?

JasonTodd Ready
JasonTodd Ready

Thank you for highlighting corrupt federal employees complicit in the narco-terrorist invasion of our nation: Micheal Angelo Antondo, Yamilkar Fierros, Jovana Samaniego Deas, Raul Portillo, Abel Canales, Luis Carlos Vasquez, Raquel Esquivel, Margarita Crispin... This article only further reinforces the prudent position that Latinos are a national security risk to our country and should be placed under far more scrutiny than their Anglo counterparts.

Hrobster
Hrobster

Most Americans, are in complete AGREEMENT with you, whether you know it or not. It's our corrupt govenrment, intent on merging this blessed country with one of the most corrupt nations in the enitire world. How many heads got chopped off today in Narco state, and when is it going to come here.

Richard Winston
Richard Winston

Jeeze, Hitler, why don't you just put them in concentration camps?! You're the kind of cracker asshole I worry about going crazy and shooting up the post office or a mcdonald's.

Hrobster
Hrobster

He isn't Hitler but you sound like and anti-American leftist progressive buffoon.

Gwmwllc
Gwmwllc

Two six foot high fences, no barb wire on top. Place them 100 yards apart on the US side of the border. Warning signs on the fences every 200 feet. AND LAND MINES IN BETWEEN THE FENCES. Problem solved.

Sherri
Sherri

this is months old, and the agent got busted and arrested...he was an idiot...and this is not as common as the illegal mexican drug runners and human traffickers want you to believe...there are corrupt people in EVERY organization...let's not be ignorant people...and most agents working the border actually do an amazing job...the only thing hindering them is all of the "political correct red tape" and protecting the rights of those who come illegally bringing drugs, trafficking, etc. and most of those get a slap on the wrist and sent home and guess who doesn't get the support they should? huh...yup border patrol.

Whatever People
Whatever People

Ummm, did you really think we had a problem because they have been keeping our borders safe for the last several decades?

King
King

Alcohol makes you do stupid things not weed asshole. How many people have you heard of that have gambled there life savings away from smoking a joint? How many dwi related deaths are attributed to marijuana use compared to alcohol. Stupid people like you is why we have issues in this world.

Enuf Istoomuch
Enuf Istoomuch

Okay, so I am not surprised that some percentage of cops go bad. That much is human nature. I cannot ignore that, at the same time, other cops caught them or turned them in.

The measure needed here is one of the rate of bad to good.

The action needed here is to fix whatever is broke, to improve not tear down.

Salvatore Scialabba III
Salvatore Scialabba III

My Husband is in New Mexico Jail and has been there for eight months due to the feds acussing him of Consipiring with the intent to distrubit 266 pounds of marijuana when he never had anymarijuana or anything that would make them think he had it. Tell me how bad is our goverment when they are putting people in prison for 10 yrs so they themselfs can allow shipments of drugs to go through while they are destracting the real cops until the bigger shipments can get through with no hassel.... SHUT THE GOVERMENT DOWN BEFORE WE ALL END UP IN PRISON.....

Salvatore Scialabba III
Salvatore Scialabba III

My Husband is in New Mexico Jail and has been there for eight months due to the feds acussing him of Consipiring with the intent to distrubit 266 pounds of marijuana when he never had any of it in his car or anything that would make them think he had it in his car. Tell me how bad is our goverment when they are putting people in prison for 10 yrs so they themselfs can allow shipments of drugs to go through while they are destracting the real cops until the bigger shipments can get through with no hassel.... SHUT THE GOVERMENT DOWN BEFORE WE ALL END UP IN PRISON.....

Chuy930
Chuy930

Get rid or waive the 38yr max age limit for federal law enforcement for healthy active over 38yr old retired military veterans who still want to continue to serve their country. This will help with more mature and professional minded personnel to take on the border and whatever challenges it poses. They have the experience leading troops, coordinating complex operations, and more importantly very patriotic! A 20yr military veteran has already proven his loyalty. That should curtail a lot of these issues, my two pennies, shiny or not.

no name
no name

put American troops on the border and within a few months the same thing will happen...one has to do with the cost of living, two the wages paid, and the impression that the only successful in the country are wealthy and money is power....

Stakman
Stakman

Maybe.... just maybe, we don't hire Hispanics to work the border????? Yamilkar Fierros, Jovana Samaniego Deas, Raul Portillo, Abel Canales, Luis Carlos Vasquez, Jovana Deas, Raquel Esquivel, Diego Esquivel, Margarita Crispin.... seems to be a common thread.... hmmmm

Marcy
Marcy

So the Federal government should violate the US Constitution by discriminating in the hiring of people who have Hispanic names?

Fc
Fc

How is marijuana worse? or is it? Why is marijuana illegal, but alcohol is not?

Ccainm
Ccainm

worse than what?

Guest
Guest

They love to dish the crap whenever they can on the border patrol and the American people but they don't report half of the heinous crimes that illegal aliens commit. We want to know if a crime any crime that was committed by an illegal alien!!!!! TELL US!!!

Jason
Jason

The Border Patrol isn't corrupt, they are just stupid for knowingly allowing Mexican drug smugglers into the United States without question.

As for the Mexicans, they need to work with the United States to resolve border issues, border security, immigration, the criminal illegals, etc. It is the only way to resolve issues plaguing both the United States and Mexico.

Bobby
Bobby

When in the hell will you wake the fu.. up. Illegal immigration is "PLAUGING", narco state, illegal immigration is helping to take care of narco states incompetence, and IS PLAUGING AMERICANS. Wake the f up BOY. Where were you when the good Lord handed out the brains???????

Laura
Laura

Yamilkar Fierros, Jovana Samaniego Deas, Raul Portillo, Abel Canales, Luis Carlos Vasquez, Jovana Deas, Raquel Esquivel, Diego Esquivel, Margarita Crispin.... seems to be a common thread.... hmmmm

JESTERJACKSON
JESTERJACKSON

Wow Laura how brilliant of you to notice that a report about the border with MEXICO in a border state where people lived before Arizona was a state might have hispanic last names. ( Kinda like if you were to talk about the border with Canada I would expect more anglo last names.)

Hrobster
Hrobster

Yes, but does any of this criminality coming across the border bother you. That's all we want to know.

Stakman
Stakman

Read the article ass

Petrafan2003
Petrafan2003

Americans are subject to full body scans and such . How about that at the border . and some kind of x-ray machine that can look into vehicles . Or are americans just treated like crap??

malasangre
malasangre

we've had that shit for a long time. do you know what year this is?

Guest
Guest

Evidently, we Americans are just the work horses paying for it all. We need some kind of device that they can detect tunnels too. Get the mining guys in here they'll tell us what needs to be done. Frankly, I pretty tired of all this illegal alien, Anchor Baby crap! We need to End Birthright Citizenship and deport all the illegal aliens no matter if they’re a man, woman or child ASAP! We need the Southern border closed and guarded with the military!!!!! One of the biggest problems is our politicians are lying down and letting the illegal aliens run all over them and America!!! It’s time for the real Americans to stand up and throw the politicians out on their ears! Then take care of this illegal alien problem once and for all.

01JACK
01JACK

I really get a laugh when i read your good article about the border patrol agents busting people for pot.And how good of a job they do,but when SHERRIFF JOE does his job with DOPE AND ILLEGALS it is all wrong.I know he pissed you off,but he is doing the job i voted for him to do.And im not the only one who believes in that.All you guys do is stick up for the poor wet back illegals WHY.You really do not care about the laws,especially LIMONS he is an ass any way.THANKS AND HAVE A GOOD DAY.

Bobby
Bobby

Right on 01 Jack, I couldn't agree more. Only the mexican power groups, like La Raza, Lulac, Mecha, Maldef, and a thousand others, along with their sick leftist enablers, hate the Sheriff. He is doing exactly what a Sheriff is supposed to do. Too bad there aren't a thousand Sheriff Joes in the U.S.

Dogbiter
Dogbiter

o1jack, you must be high! the story isn;t about border agents doing a good job. quite the contrary. plus, joe arpaio is a punk-ass racist loser. he has never done anything that has helped to curb crime in his miserable career. soon he will be political toast, and you can suck some other nazi's dick.

Gray Race
Gray Race

And I get a laugh when I see dipshits like you thinking that Sheriff Joe actually is reducing illegal immigration. I still see wetbacks working in the back of Ranch market and there all over the place. The guy always like being a media whore and waste millions of tax payer money, and don't know why dumbasses like you vote for him? Mostly cause voters like you have IQ of fly.

 
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