BP agent accused of spying for drug traffickers
January 20th 2012 · 0 Comments
Janet Rose Jackman
A Yuma-based Border Patrol agent and a state corrections officer confessed to drug trafficking after they were arrested Thursday in a case that includes an alleged plot to kill a confidential informant, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
Agent Ivhan Herrera Chiang, 29, and Michael Lopez Garcia, 28, an officer at the state prison in San Luis, were both charged with conspiracy to possess controlled substances with intent to distribute, said Bill Solomon, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in a press release.
Herrera and Lopez allegedly worked with a drug trafficking organization to smuggle drugs into the United States from Mexico since September 2010, Solomon said.
Herrera is accused of using his position in Border Patrol intelligence to obtain and hand over sensitive information, including sensor maps, combinations to gate locks, records of drug seizures, and identities of confidential informants, Solomon said.
Lopez allegedly smuggled 2 pounds of methamphetamine into the United States through a port of entry and guided cocaine traffickers around Border Patrol agents and checkpoints. He’s also accused of delivering drugs and information obtained by Herrera to the drug trafficking organization, Solomon said.
In November, Lopez allegedly told a confidential source that a “rat” had infiltrated the drug organization and wanted him killed. Lopez reportedly told the source that Herrera would provide a photo of the “rat,” according to the complaint filed in court.
Solomon said Lopez’s drug buyer was actually an undercover agent.
“Acts of corruption within the Department of Homeland Security represent a threat to our nation and undermine the honest and hardworking employees who strive to maintain the integrity of the Department. Corruption will not be tolerated and those who choose to break the law will be pursued aggressively,” said Paul Leonard, Department of Homeland Security special agent in charge, in the release.
If convicted, Herrera and Lopez face a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $10 million fine or both, Solomon said.
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