US border inspector charged with taking bribes

US border inspector charged with taking bribes

CREATED Jul. 14, 2012

Web Producer: Rikki Mitchell

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A U.S. border inspector in San Diego was arrested Friday and accused of accepting bribes including thousands in cash, use of luxury cars and apartment rent payments from two people he allegedly allowed to drive past him with illegal immigrants in their car.
   
Hector Rodriguez, 45, was arrested while on duty for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency at the San Ysidro port of entry, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.
   
He is accused of allowing 45-year-old Gerardo Rodriguez and 29-year-old Vanessa Moya to drive by his booth with suspected illegal immigrants in their cars. They were also arrested and charged Friday.
   
Rodriguez told the drivers about his work schedule and assigned lane, then allowed them to drive through without inspection and recorded false identities and vehicle numbers, prosecutors said.
   
Hector Rodriguez had served for four years with the agency.
   
"We do not tolerate corruption within our ranks, and we fully cooperate with any criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel," Chris Maston, CBP's field operations director in San Diego, said in a statement.
   
Criminal indictments against Customs and Border Protection employees have increased each of the last four years to 60 in fiscal 2011.
   
The three defendants have initial court appearances on Monday. Justice officials did not know whether they have hired attorneys.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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