Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Wife of Former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer in El Paso Sentenced to Federal Prison

In El Paso, a former U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer’s wife, who fled the country prior to sentencing on federal drug trafficking and bribery charges in 2010, was sentenced to 132 months in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie, Jr., of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), El Paso Division; Special Agent in Charge Kyle Williamson of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), El Paso Division; and, Special Agent in Charge Javy Pedroza of the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) in El Paso.

During sentencing yesterday, Senior U.S. District Judge David Briones also ordered 41-year-old Ana Marie Hernandez to pay a $100,000 money judgment.

On June 21, 2010, the legal permanent resident in the U.S. pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to import a controlled substance and one count of aiding and abetting the bribery of a public official.  By pleading guilty, Hernandez admitted that between June 2005 and October 2005, she conspired with others, including her husband, former DHS Customs and Border Protection officer Daniel Ledezma, to allow hundreds of kilograms of cocaine into the U.S. without inspection through the Paso de Norte Port of Entry.  For their actions, Hernandez and Ledezma received more than $100,000 in U.S. Currency.

An arrest warrant was issued for Hernandez when she failed to appear for sentencing on January 24, 2011.

On October 3, 2018, Hernandez was extradited from Mexico to El Paso.  She has since remained in federal custody.

“This sentencing is a result of the ongoing partnership and collaboration between the FBI, DEA and our international partners to bring to justice an individual who corrupted U.S. law enforcement officials in order to import drugs into the U.S.  The FBI and its partners will relentlessly pursue and prosecute individuals that poison the communities of El Paso,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Buie.

“The sentencing of Ms. Hernandez concludes years of federal authorities’ efforts to bring her to justice.  This case serves as an example of the corrupting influence of drug trafficking organizations and the diligence of DEA and its law enforcement partners to investigate, pursue and prosecute those who seek to profit through bribery and drug smuggling,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Williamson.

On January 20, 2011, Ledezma was sentenced to 110 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the same charges in June 2010.

The DEA, FBI, and DHS OIG investigated this case.  The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Marshals Service provided significant assistance in the extradition.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys of the Western District of Texas.

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