SAN DIEGO — A U.S. Border Patrol agent appeared in federal court Thursday on bribery charges related to drug distribution and illegal entry of migrants.

According to the U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman’s office, 55-year-old Hector Hernandez is accused of accepting around $25,000 in bribes to distribute methamphetamine and to open a
restricted border gate to allow unauthorized migrants to enter the U.S. illegally.

Officials say Hernandez allegedly opened the restricted border gate on May 8, 2023 while on duty. They say this was part of an agreement made with another individual in exchange for a $5,000 cash payment.

The attorney’s office explained that the person in which Hernandez was communicating with regarding the deal was actually an undercover federal agent.

A separate exchange was made the very next day on May 9 when Hernandez allegedly arranged to pick up a duffle bag loaded with methamphetamine from a storm drain near the border fence while on duty, officials said.

According to the attorney’s office, Hernandez put the bag into his Border Patrol vehicle and drove it to his house in Chula Vista, where he stored it for the remainder of his shift.

Then on May 10, officials say that he met with the undercover agent again to deliver the drugs in the bag in exchange for a $20,000 cash payment. Hernandez was arrested right after delivering the drugs.

A detention hearing is scheduled for May 16 at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernard G. Skomal in regards to this case.