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Former Customs and Border Protection Officer sentenced for smuggling and bribery

Former Customs Officer sentenced for smuggling
Posted at 5:21 PM, May 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-22 21:32:09-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)--Former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer Jose Luis Cota was sentenced in federal court Monday to five years in prison for bribery and alien smuggling charges.

Cota accepted cash and sexual favors from smugglers in exchange for allowing them to bring undocumented immigrants into the United States without inspection through his lane at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.  Miriam Juarez-Herrera and Gilberto Aguilar-Martinez, married Mexican nationals, were working with Cota in the bribery and smuggling scheme.  The group charged as much as $15,000 per person they smuggled.

Cota, a 15 year veteran with the agency, was arrested in September 2016.  According to court documents, he confessed to his crimes when he was taken into custody.

In imposing the sentence, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller spoke regarding Cota's conduct, "It feeds the popular narrative that there is corruption in government at some levels.  There is a spot of rot in government.  When this happens, it affects us all."

Cota will have to report to federal prison by June 14, 2017.