Former Border Patrol agent sentenced for drug trafficking conspiracy

SAN DIEGO — A former U.S. Border Patrol agent was sentenced Thursday in federal court for conspiring to distribute controlled substances and a protected species of sea cucumber, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Cesar Daleo, 49, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for conspiring to distribute 4ANPP, an ingredient used in the making of the opioid fentanyl. He was also sentenced to 24 months for conspiring to smuggle a rare species of sea cucumber found in Mexico into the U.S. Daleo is expected to serve both sentences simultaneously.

Daleo was arrested in August 2017 while driving to Mexico after picking up a package sent from China at a postal facility in San Ysidro. Unknown to Daleo at that time, authorities had been tracking the package and swapped out the substance before Daleo picked it up. Daleo was stopped by law enforcement officials before he crossed the border.

Daleo pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute 4ANPP in July 2018.

Daleo’s sentencing for conspiring to bring protected sea cucumbers into the U.S. covered at least 80 cases between the fall of 2014 and the fall of 2016. U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel said Daleo paid another person to smuggle more than $250,000 worth of dried sea cucumber over the border.

“This is a fitting sentence for a former law enforcement agent who knew the dangers of drugs like fentanyl, yet did not hesitate to hand them out, for a price,” U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said. “Now it is he who will pay a price for distributing a drug that destroys lives, families and communities.”

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