49-year-old Eugenio Pedraza, a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG) supervisor, was found guilty in March of “conspiracy and five counts of falsifying government documents,” according to The McAllen Monitor. An indictment obtained by Breitbart Texas alleges that Pedraza, with the help of several special agents, worked to “impede, obstruct, and influence” a 2011 internal review of the DHS-OIG office.
According to the indictment, Pedraza reportedly attempted to inhibit the review of significant gaps in the DHS-OIG’s investigation into numerous cases that involved Border Patrol agents assisting in the “unlawful smuggling of undocumented aliens and narcotics into the United States,” through several ports-of-entry in Texas. The indictment claims that Pedraza failed to ensure that investigations assigned to his office were properly carried out.
Pedraza was found guilty of falsifying documents with DHS-OIG special agent Robert Vargas and former special agent Wayne Ball, according to local reports. Vargas had previously investigated a criminal case relating to Border Patrol officers helping a Mexican cartel bring drugs into the U.S. He was instructed by Pedraza to draw up inaccurate memorandums of activity, according to court records. Vargas’ testimony alleged that Pedraza told him to “fill in the gaps” in the written reports of activity relating to the investigation, according to The Monitor.
Once the dishonest documents were drawn up, Agent Ball willingly signed them. The Monitor reported that in January 2013, Ball was convicted of falsifying documents.
Pedraza also enlisted Special Agent Marco Rodriguez to help obstruct the internal review, according to court filings. Pedraza instructed Rodriguez to falsify written reports of activity for two cases, both involving agents helping undocumented citizens and/or drugs enter the United States. Charges against Rodriguez were dropped for unlisted reasons, according to the Monitor.
Special agents Rolando Gomez and Edwin Castillo were also ordered by Pedraza to falsify written reports of activity, according to court files. Gomez’s reports related to the deportation of an unnamed source; Castillo’s related to a case in which a CBP officer allegedly sold entry documents to illegal immigrants.
The indictment accused Pedraza of “failure to provide Special Agents with adequate training and supervision.” Larry Eastepp, Pedraza’s attorney, said the agents working under Pedraza of conspiring to get him fired, and now put in jail, according to The Monitor. In court, he said before a jury, “It shifted from getting him fired to getting him in prison.”
Pedraza will be sentenced on June 16. Vargas, Gomez, and Castillo remain on paid leave.
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate