During the Trump administration, DHS employees have accepted millions of dollars in bribes from drug cartels and smugglers, despite rhetoric about increased border security. According to a former Border Patrol agent, this has been a part of the agency culture but has intensified in recent years. At least a dozen CBP employees were arrested in 2020 for working directly with criminal organizations.
- Oziel Cantu, a CBP officer, is set to appear in federal court on allegations he accepted a bribe, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. The charges allege Cantu accepted $15,000 in exchange for facilitating the unlawful importation of narcotics into the United States from Mexico.
- The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) states that CBP violated the purpose statute by listing goods and services in their supplemental FY 2019 appropriations that were not made available, including “consumables and medical care” and “establishing and operating migrant care and processing facilities.” The funding was instead used to pay for dirt bikes, canine supplies, computer equipment, and other enforcement-related expenditures. GOA directs CBP to either obligate the account to its appropriate purpose or report a violation of the Antideficiency Act as required by law.
- National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd announces that the FBI is investigating the disappearance of approximately $500,000 from the union’s El Paso branch. Forensic auditors found that $352,389 was misappropriated while another $150,035 was not properly paid to the IRS in tax money. Rumors of a long-running embezzlement scheme had been circulating through the ranks of CBP since 2018.
- In a ProPublica article, Melissa del Bosque examines the prominent CBP leaders who once served as young agents together in Douglas, Arizona, when CBP was “just a small, backwater agency.” These agents included Carla Provost, Andrea Zortman, David Aguilar, Michael Fisher, Scott Luck, and Rowdy Adams – all of whom now serve in or have retired from senior-level positions. Del Bosque suggests that these officials are to blame for the current state of Border Patrol for “fostering a culture that favored loyalty over competency.”