Former Border Patrol agent sentenced for attempted drug smuggling

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A former Border Patrol agent was sentenced Wednesday for trying to smuggle drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border while on duty in 2016.

Noe Lopez, 37, of Chula Vista, was sentenced to 70 months in prison for attempting to smuggle methamphetamine and cocaine in exchange for cash. He pled guilty to the charges in June 2017.

Investigators say the former Border Patrol agent agreed to pick up backpacks containing the drugs from the north side of the border while on duty. Undercover DEA agents used substances resembling drugs in the backpack drops.

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In a conversation with an undercover agent, Lopez discussed the area known as "Goat Canyon" as a preferred location, according to investigators, saying "Honestly, the thing is that there aren’t—there aren’t any cameras. Nothing, nothing, nothing."

At times, investigators said Lopez switched shifts with another agent to be in a preferred area for a drop.

Lopez would load the backpacks in his Border Patrol vehicle and deliver what he thought were narcotics after work in exchange for thousands of dollars, according to the charges.

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"This is a fitting sentence for a law enforcement agent who, instead of policing drug traffickers, joined them," U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said in a release. "Noe Lopez will pay a high price for betraying his fellow agents and his badge."

Lopez was arrested on Dec. 14, 2016, after undercover agents moved in after setting up another backpack drop with the purported drugs.

"Noe Lopez violated the trust of the public and the law enforcement community he betrayed," Rodney Scott, San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent, said. "Noe Lopez is the anomaly; he does not represent the professionalism, honor and distinction that Border Patrol agents exhibit everyday safeguarding our nation.”

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