Border Bribery Cases Worry US Officials
by John Pomfret, Washington Post, (16 Jul 2006) Charlotte Observer United States
SAN DIEGO - Federal law enforcement officials are investigating a series of bribery and smuggling cases in what they fear is a sign of increased corruption among officers who patrol the Mexican border. Two brothers who worked for the U.S. Border Patrol disappeared in June while under investigation for smuggling drugs and immigrants, and are believed to have fled to Mexico. In the past month, two agents from Customs and Border Protection, which guards border checkpoints, were indicted for taking bribes to allow illegal immigrants to enter the United States. And this month, two Border Patrol supervisory agents pleaded guilty to accepting nearly $200,000 in payoffs to release detainees.
Authorities say two trends are at work: The massive buildup of Border Patrol agents in recent years has led to worries that hiring standards have been lowered; and, smugglers are intensifying efforts to bribe those guarding the border.