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Contraband
11/02/2010

South Texas deputy arrested for gun smuggling and bribery

BROWNSVILLE, Texas - A Cameron County Sheriff's deputy was arrested on Monday on charges related to bribery and smuggling goods from the U.S. These charges were announced by U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno. The investigation is led by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the assistance of the FBI and the Cameron County Sheriff's Office.

Jesus Longoria, 31, of Brownsville, was arrested Nov. 1, pursuant to a federal arrest warrant which was issued after a complaint under seal was filed.

The complaint was unsealed Tuesday during Longoria's initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan. Longoria will remain in federal custody pending a preliminary examination and detention hearing scheduled for Nov. 4 when his bond will be decided.

According to the criminal complaint, Longoria allegedly accepted payments from an undercover federal agent to allow firearms to pass through a federal inspection station.

Local law enforcement officers work alongside federal authorities at the Ports of Entry in an effort to prevent contraband and stolen goods from being smuggled into Mexico. As such, Longoria was assigned to the Veterans' and Gateway Ports of Entry to prevent stolen vehicles from leaving the United States. Longoria allegedly allowed vehicles that he knew to contain firearms to pass through his vehicle checkpoint on three occasions between March 12 and May 5, 2010, in exchange for money. The vehicles were intercepted before entering into Mexico and the weapons recovered.

Bribery of a public official carries a maximum penalty of $250,000 and 15 years imprisonment and may disqualify a person from holding any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States. Smuggling goods from the United States carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William Hagen, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.