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Man who tried to sell map of border cameras, sensors sentenced to prison

SEATTLE — A Bellingham man was sentenced Friday to a year in prison and three years of supervised release for attempting to sell a stolen government document that detailed the location of cameras and sensors along the U.S. and Canadian border.

Leif Rankin, 32, pleaded guilty in November 2011 to theft of government property. He was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents in September 2011 when he tried to sell the map to someone he thought was involved in smuggling drugs across the northern border. That person was in fact a law enforcement officer working with the Integrated Border Enforcement Team.

"The defendant thought he could profit from selling stolen government information, he was wrong," said Brad Bench, acting special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. "As a result of this HSI-led multi-agency investigation, information that could have weakened border security will stay out of criminal hands."

According to records in the case, in late August or early September 2011, Rankin started asking his criminal associates about smugglers who might be interested in buying a map he had in his possession. He claimed he had acquired the map from a garage sale at the home of a U.S. Border Patrol agent and that the map showed the sensors and cameras in place on the U.S. border with Canada. HSI used an undercover law enforcement officer to meet Rankin and learn more about the map. When Rankin attempted to complete the sale with the officer for $6,000, he was arrested.