SAN DIEGO, California — A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer and two illegal alien accomplices have been arrested and charged in a sexual favors and cash for smuggling of illegal aliens across the border scandal.
Jose Luis Cota, 50, in his capacity as an officer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, allowed at least two illegal aliens, one of which was a two-time felon, cross repeatedly into the U.S. according to the complaint filed against Cota and two illegal aliens identified in the scheme. The two aliens are “Miriam Elizabeth Juarez-Herrera, age 31, a removed alien who is charged with smuggling unlawful aliens into the U.S. from the Republic of Mexico; and Gilberto Aguilar-Martinez, age 31, a removed alien and two-time convicted felon”
As a part of the smuggling scheme, Juarez-Herrera, Aguilar-Martinez and/or other persons that did not have prior authorization to enter the United States, would approach Cota’s primary inspection lane at San Diego’s San Ysidro Port of Entry (SYPOE) from the Republic of Mexico and Cota would allow them to unlawfully enter the United States. At least four such specific instances are listed in the court document: November 3, 2015, November 16, 2015, March 15, 2016 and September 7, 2016.
Shortly after the smuggling events occurred Cota’s bank account showed large cash deposits according to an FBI report of charges.
During an FBI interview Juarez-Herrera admitted to FBI agents that she smuggled aliens through SYPOE border crossing, bribing Cota with cash and sexual favors in exchange for allowing her and the aliens enter the U.S. unlawfully. The complaint further alleged that Cota admitted receiving sexual favors from Juarez-Herrera in exchange for unlawfully admitting her and the aliens to the U.S.
All three had initial appearances on September 8 according to the FBI. At those appearances all three were detained due to flight risk.
Cota, Juarez-Herrera and Aguilar-Martinez each face one or more of the following charges: destruction, alteration, or falsification of records; bringing in unlawful aliens for financial gain; bribery of public official and receiving bribe by public official and misuse of passport and aiding and abetting.
Future court hearings are set for September 14 and 22.
The San Ysidro Port of Entry is the busiest land border crossing the the Western Hemisphere according to the U.S. General Services Administration. It currently processes “an average of 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians per day.”
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