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04/03/2008

Former Customs and Border Protection officer sentenced for making false statements

MIAMI - A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was sentenced here April 3 by U.S. District Court Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks to six months' incarceration, followed by three (3) years of supervised release.

Carlos Manuel Garcia was sentenced on four counts of making false statements to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Professional Responsibility agents during an investigation into alleged abuse of position by Garcia while he was employed as a Customs and Border Protection Officer (CBPO) at the Miami International Airport.

The announcement was made today by R. Alexander Acosta, U.S. Attorney, Southern District of Florida, and Steven J. Mocsary, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

According to statements made in court and other court documents, Garcia violated his position of trust as a CBPO at the Miami International Airport in a number of ways. First, Garcia mutilated his Colombian girlfriend's visa and threatened to use his authority as an officer to deport her and her family. In addition, Garcia referred his girlfriend's mother, who was visiting the United States on a legitimate visa, to secondary inspection without justification and misused sensitive law enforcement databases. Lastly, Garcia attempted to obstruct the OPR internal investigation against him by instructing his girlfriend to lie to the OPR investigators. A thorough investigation by OPR, including tape-recorded telephone calls, led to the arrest and conviction of Garcia.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Professional Responsibility. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Tantillo.