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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
04/15/2009

CBP inspector guilty of smuggling

BROWNSVILLE, Texas - A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) inspector was convicted of alien smuggling, drug trafficking and bribery April 13, 2009, in a Texas court. The conviction was a result of a multi-agency investigation that included U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Professional Responsibility.

Sergio Lopez Hernandez, 40, of Brownsville, admitted that between July 2008 and Jan. 28, 2009, while employed as a CBP inspector, he conspired with others to bring illegal aliens to the United States and transported them in furtherance of their illegal presence in the United States; bringing in illegal aliens to the United States for commercial advantage and private financial gain; and accepting bribes to influence him in his official capacity as a officer with CBP. Hernandez also pleaded guilty to accepting in excess of $150,000 in bribe money and to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute approximately 15 kilograms of cocaine on Jan. 28, 2009. As part of his agreement with the United States, Hernandez will also forfeit $85,250 seized from him Jan. 28, 2009.

OPR/Harlingen, FBI/Brownsville, DHS/OIG, and CBP/IA, under the auspices of the Public Corruption Task Force (PCTF) have developed information alleging a group of CBPOs stationed at the POE/Brownsville are working in concert with narcotics and alien smuggling organizations.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted under the auspices of the Public Corruption Task Force, which has developed information alleging a group of CBP officers stationed at the Port of Entry in Brownsville are working in concert with narcotics and alien smuggling organizations. Agencies involved in this task force include ICE's Office of Professional Responsibility, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General and CBP's Office of Internal Affairs.