A former U.S. Border Patrol Agent (BPA) was sentenced to 114 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for accepting bribes in return for helping to smuggle illegal drugs into the United States.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick for the Southern District of Texas, Special Agent in Charge Perrye Turner of the FBI’s Houston Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Juan Benavides of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) made the announcement.
Robert Hall, 45, of La Feria, Texas, a former BPA, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. of the Southern District of Texas, who also ordered Hall to pay a fine in the amount of $20,000. Hall pleaded guilty to one count of bribery on Sept. 14, 2018, which was unsealed today.
According to the plea documents, between 2004 and 2014, Hall, working with others including Daniel Hernandez, 46, of Roseville, California, facilitated the trafficking of illegal drugs, including marijuana, into the United States from Mexico on behalf of a drug trafficking organization (DTO). In exchange for cash payments, he provided an individual in the DTO with CBP sensor locations, the locations of unpatrolled roads at or near the U.S.-Mexico border, the number of BPAs working in a certain area, keys to unlock CBP locks located on gates to ranch fences along the border and CBP radios. In total, Hall accepted over $50,000 in cash from the DTO in exchange for using his position as a BPA to enable the DTO’s drug shipments to cross the border into Texas without law enforcement detection.
Daniel Hernandez pleaded guilty Feb. 5 to one count of conspiracy to bribe a public official before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy K. Johnson in the Southern District of Texas. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 9, before U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller, who accepted the plea on Feb. 8.
The FBI investigated the case with the assistance of CBP OPR. Trial Attorneys Rebecca Moses and Peter M. Nothstein of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie N. Searle of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.