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Border officer gets nine years for letting up to 165 illegally enter U.S.

By Carol Cratty, CNN
July 18, 2013 -- Updated 2244 GMT (0644 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Juan Carlos Guerrero pleaded guilty to bribery and smuggling last year
  • He admitted letting between 80 to 165 people illegally cross into the U.S.
  • Guerrero worked the midnight shift at several ports of entry in Texas
  • Guerrero and cohorts received bribes ranging from $500 to $3,000 per person

Washington (CNN) -- A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer in Texas was sentenced Thursday to nine years in prison in conspiracy to smuggle illegal immigrants into the United States.

Juan Carlos Guerrero, 39, pleaded guilty to bribery and smuggling last year. His girlfriend, a nephew and two associates received lesser sentences for their roles in the scheme.

Guerrero worked the midnight shift at several ports of entry, and his responsibilities included checking vehicles coming into the U.S. from Mexico.

He admitted letting between 80 to 165 people illegally cross into the U.S. from January 2009 until May 2011.

Guerrero and his cohorts received bribes ranging from $500 to $3,000 per person.

Guerrero was placed on administrative leave after his October 2012 arrest. He resigned his job in December as part of a plea agreement.

In addition to his prison sentence, Guerrero received a $30,000 fine.

Customs and Border Protection issued a statement in response to the sentencing: "We do not tolerate corruption or abuse within our ranks, and we fully cooperate with any criminal or administrative investigation of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel, on or off duty."

In fiscal year 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection employed 21,790 officers who processed people and cargo arriving at land, sea and airport based ports of entry. That's in addition to 21,394 Border Patrol agents who patrol the areas between the ports of entry and also operate interior highway checkpoints.

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