Chicago Tribune / Reuters
December 4, 2012
by David Schwartz
PHOENIX (Reuters) - A U.S. Border Patrol agent has been arrested after he was
spotted accepting bundles of marijuana from a suspected Mexican smuggler at an
international border fence in Arizona, authorities said on Tuesday.
Anaya, 25, was taken into custody early on Monday by federal agents who seized
147 pounds (66.6 kg) of marijuana inside three duffle bags from his border
patrol vehicle, authorities said in a criminal complaint in U.S. District Court
Anaya, a U.S. Border Patrol agent since 2010, was charged with possession of a
controlled substance with intent to distribute and firearm possession during a
drug trafficking offense, according to the criminal complaint. Anaya had his
service weapon with him at the time.
The controlled substance count
carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and the firearms count is
punishable by up to 5 years behind bars.
Anaya's federal public defender
could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday.
the Border Patrol's sector chief for Yuma, Arizona, said the agency was "sorely
disappointed by the alleged conduct of one of our own."
"I appreciate the
efforts by our law enforcement partners and our own agents to uncover those that
violate their oath of office, and hold them accountable for their actions,"
Martin said in a statement released on Tuesday.
Anaya was arrested by
agents from the FBI-led Southwest Border Corruption Task Force who were
conducting surveillance with the help of aircraft in an area between Yuma and
Wellton, about 185 miles southwest of Phoenix.
According to a probable
cause statement filed with the complaint, agents say they watched as Anaya
stopped his patrol vehicle along the border and picked up bales of marijuana
tossed over the fence into Arizona from a man on Mexican side.
then seen by the agents placing the load into his vehicle before he continued
patrolling, the probable cause document said.
The U.S. Department of
Homeland Security reports that 129 agents were arrested on corruption charges
from 2003 to 2009.