SAN DIEGO — A former Customs and Border Protection officer was handed a 6 1/2-year prison term Monday for taking bribes of cash, luxury vehicles and the use of an apartment in return for allowing undocumented migrants through his border inspection lane at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Hector Rodriguez, 45, pleaded guilty last March to federal charges of bribery, conspiracy and bringing in aliens for financial gain.
As part of his plea, Rodriguez agreed to forfeit a 2009 Jaguar, a dozen luxury watches — including five Rolexes — jewelry, televisions, cash and computers that were attained as a result of his criminal activity.
“The sentencing of this former officer sends a message both to the community at large and to those in trusted positions in federal law enforcement who would contemplate participating in corrupt and unlawful behavior,” said Pete Flores, director of CBP field operations for San Diego.
“We will not tolerate corruption within our workforce and we will actively ferret out and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law any employees who commit unethical or unlawful acts that violate that special trust,” he said.
Two of Rodriguez’s accomplices were also sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez.
Gerardo Rodriguez, 42, was given a five-year prison term and ordered to forfeit a 2005 Mercedes-Benz, a 2006 Harley Davidson motorcycle and $60,000 in cash, along with televisions and computers.
Co-defendant Maria Guerrero, 39, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay a $40,000 fine.
According to court records, Hector Rodriguez provided his lane assignment to the co-defendants, who would then drive vehicles containing undocumented migrants from Mexico to the United States through his inspection lane.
On the day of their arrest on July 13, 2012, Gerardo Rodriguez drove a vehicle containing eight undocumented migrants and co-defendant Vanessa Moya drove a vehicle containing six undocumented migrants through Hector Rodriguez’s inspection lane.
To conceal the smuggling, Hector Rodriguez would enter into the government database false information about who was driving the vehicle and the number of occupants.
Moya was previously sentenced to five years probation and fined $2,500.