A Mexican national has pleaded guilty in federal court for his role in a scheme to bribe a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the purpose of smuggling illegal aliens into the country.
“Luis Alfredo Quintero-Gonzalez, 36, of Mexico, pleaded guilty on August 11, 2022, for Conspiracy to Commit Bribery and Alien Smuggling, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). “Evidence gathered during the investigation established that Quintero-Gonzalez paid former United States Border Patrol (USBP) agent Carlos Passapera thousands of dollars in cash bribes for smuggling undocumented noncitizens into the United States between August and December 2019.”
The DOJ alleges that Quintero-Gonzalez would reach out to Passapera, whom he would pay to pick up near the border in Lukeville, Arizona. Passapera, who has pleaded not guilty for his role in the scheme, then allegedly would smuggle the illegal aliens through CBP checkpoints.
“Throughout the conspiracy, Quintero-Gonzalez and Passapera smuggled at least eight undocumented noncitizens into the United States,” the DOJ says. “In exchange for his role in the conspiracy, Passapera received approximately $64,000 in bribery payments from Quintero-Gonzalez.”
Quintero-Gonzalez’s sentencing is scheduled for October 25, and he faces up to five years in prison.
For his part, Passapera is battling the charges against him. His trial will begin next April, and he is no longer employed by CBP.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), along with the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General investigated the criminal activity.
Meanwhile, illegal border crossings have skyrocketed under the Biden Administration.
Illegal crossings have dipped over the past two months, but continue to hover around 200,000 illegal crossings per month.
“In total, there were 199,976 encounters along the southwest land border in July, a four percent decrease compared to June,” according to CBP. “Of those, 22 percent involved individuals who had at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months, compared to an average one-year re-encounter rate at the southwest land border of 15 percent for FY2014-2019.”
That number does not provide for illegal aliens who evaded border authorities.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “U.S. Citizens Arrested for Smuggling Illegal Aliens” by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.