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Ex-Border Patrol agent sentenced over 7 years for accepting bribes, smuggling

Border Fence, Border Patrol (FILE)
Posted at 1:21 PM, May 24, 2024

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — A former U.S. Border Patrol Agent who accepted bribes and took part in drug and human smuggling attempts was sentenced Friday to more than seven years in federal prison.

Hector Hernandez, 55, of Chula Vista, pleaded guilty to taking money in order to assist smugglers seeking to move drugs and people from Mexico into the United States.

He admitted in a plea agreement to showing smugglers the locations of monitoring devices and cameras along the U.S.-Mexico border where they would best be able to avoid detection during smuggling operations.

Prosecutors said Hernandez also opened restricted border fences on multiple occasions in order to allow migrants through and was paid $5,000 per incident.

He was arrested last May after agreeing to pick up a bag full of drugs hidden near the border.

For $20,000, prosecutors said Hernandez retrieved the bag from a storm drain and took it to his home.

But the drug trafficker Hernandez brokered the deal with was actually an undercover federal agent, and the bag was filled largely with fake methamphetamine, as well as a tracking device, according to prosecutors. Upon meeting with the undercover agent to hand off the bag, Hernandez was arrested.

A search of his home turned up cocaine and around $140,000 in cash.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Hernandez admitted that at least $110,000 of that amount were made up of drug proceeds or bribes he accepted.

Hernandez was sentenced Friday to 87 months in custody.