As I have discussed before, corruption plays a big role in our border security. But according to a recent LA Times story it's worse than even I thought.
And we don't even know that much...
According to Ralph Vartabedian, Richard A. Serrano and Richard Marosi, bribery is on the rise and consequently, our security on the decline. Here are some excerpts:
Officials in Washington and along the border worry about what lies below the surface. "It is the tip of the iceberg," said James "Chip" Burrus, assistant director of the criminal investigation division of the FBI. "There is a lot more down there. The problem is, you don't know what you don't know."And that's just the "tip of the iceberg." Read the whole thing.
...Drug rings once planted a mole in a federal agency, and officials worry others are lurking. The rings have entangled U.S. agents in sexual relationships. And they have amassed files on individual U.S. agents, with details about their finances, families and habits — even the kind of bicycles their kids ride.
"They hire guys to watch the narcotics agents," says Lee Morgan II, who retired as the head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Douglas, Ariz., this year. "They know what time we get up in the morning. When we go to work. What kind of car your wife drives.
"We had an informant tell us he saw a film of us as we exited our office that was being shown in Mexico. They had our license plate numbers."
The Mexican criminal networks can afford lavish payoffs. Bribery payments have topped $1 million...
Though a tiny fraction of federal, state and local employees at the border have been corrupted, it takes only a few to help move large amounts of drugs or illegal immigrants.
Typical are the Alvarez brothers, Juan and Jose. Juan, a senior Border Patrol agent and canine handler at the station in Hebbronville, Texas, spearheaded an operation with his brother that allowed more than 30,000 kilos of marijuana into this country from 2003 to 2005. With Jose serving as an intermediary between his brother and a drug ring in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, the two netted $1.5 million in bribes. They bragged that they offered a "100% passage guarantee."
Their "green-light" tactics were so well developed that smugglers could have moved "nuclear weapons" over the border, said Asst. U.S. Atty. Marina Marmolejo...
In a 2005 wake-up call about the scope of border corruption, a major FBI-led sting in Arizona netted 71 guilty pleas by National Guard members, state prison guards and a federal inspector. Known as Operation Lively Green, the sting demonstrated that large numbers of government employees at the border were willing to take a bribe.
**This was a production of The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration (CAII). If you would like to participate, please go to the above link to learn more. Afterwards, email the coalition and let me know at what level you would like to participate.