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Indictment returned against Cameron County sheriff's deputy

BROWNSVLLE, Texas - A Cameron County sheriff's deputy was indicted on Friday on charges of bribery and smuggling goods from the United States, announced U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno, Southern District of Texas. The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in coordination with the FBI and Cameron County Sheriff's Office.

Jesus A. Longoria, 31, of Brownsville, Texas, was arrested on Nov. 1 after a criminal complaint was filed. Longoria will remain in federal custody without bond per court order pending trial. A date for his arraignment on the formal charges alleged in the indictment is expected to be set by the court in the near future.

Local law enforcement officers work alongside federal authorities at the Ports of Entry to prevent contraband and stolen goods from illegally crossing into Mexico. According to the indictment, Longoria, a Cameron County sheriff's deputy assigned to the Veterans' and Gateway Ports of Entry, allegedly accepted payments from an undercover federal agent to allow firearms to pass through a federal inspection station.

On May 5, the indictment accuses Longoria of knowingly attempting to illegally send or export 13 semi-automatic firearms designated as defense articles on the U.S. Munitions list without having first obtained license for such export from the Department of State.

The second count of the indictment accuses Longoria of bribery on March 24. While employed as a deputy sheriff of Cameron County assigned to a federal inspection station, Longoria allegedly accepted money in exchange for facilitating the passage of a vehicle through a federal inspection station which contained semi-automatic firearms that were not lawful for export. 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.