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September 26, 2006 | From Times Staff Reports
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer admitted Monday to helping smuggle hundreds of illegal immigrants through his vehicle lane at the Otay Mesa port of entry. As part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Michael Gilliland, 44, pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiracy, bribery and immigrant smuggling; he faces five to 15 years in prison.
September 15, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer pleaded guilty Thursday to allowing hundreds of illegal immigrants to pass through his inspection lane at the San Ysidro Port of Entry as part of a two-year smuggling scheme. Richard Elizalda, 55, admitted to one count of accepting bribes from a public official and two counts of bringing illegal immigrants into the country for financial gain. He faces a potential three- to 15-year prison term.
August 8, 2006 | Richard Marosi, Times Staff Writer
A driver trying to elude U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Arizona desert on Monday flipped an SUV loaded with suspected illegal immigrants, killing nine and injuring 13, authorities said. The driver was apparently trying to skirt a Border Patrol checkpoint on U.S. Highway 95 near the California-Arizona border by taking a remote road. Spotted by agents who followed the vehicle, the driver made a U-turn and tried to speed back onto the highway, authorities said.
July 12, 2006 | Susannah Rosenblatt, Times Staff Writer
A San Bernardino County man arrested at the Mexican border for allegedly possessing child pornography may have molested 10 minors, some as young as 2, federal authorities said Tuesday. Earl Venton Buchanan, 62, was stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Calexico on July 3. They said they became suspicious when they saw him acting nervously, returning from Mexico with a 5-year-old boy riding on his lap in an otherwise empty car.
July 8, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Two former Border Patrol supervisory agents pleaded guilty Friday to bribery and filing false income tax returns. Mario Alvarez, 44, and Samuel McLaren, 43, admitted taking $186,000 in bribes to help an illegal immigrant smuggling ring in the Imperial Valley. Each faces a possible 18-year prison term when sentenced in federal court Sept. 29.
June 8, 2006 | Richard Marosi, Times Staff Writer
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was charged Wednesday with being a key member of an immigrant smuggling ring that passed migrant-laden cars through his inspection booth at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. Michael Anthony Gilliland, 44, a veteran officer at the port 15 miles southeast of downtown San Diego, is accused of permitting motorists smuggling illegal immigrants to enter the country without inspection.
March 11, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Two supervisory U.S. Border Patrol agents pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that they released illegal immigrants from federal custody in exchange for $300,000 in cash bribes. Mario Alvarez, 44, and Samuel McClaren, 43, who worked with Mexican authorities on a successful anti-smuggling program, were charged with migrant smuggling, conspiracy, bribery, smuggling and other crimes in a federal complaint.
February 11, 2006 | Richard Marosi, Times Staff Writer
A van loaded with 27 suspected illegal migrants overturned Friday trying to elude U.S. Border Patrol agents on State Route 905. Twenty one people were hurt -- eight with life-threatening injuries -- when the driver swerved to avoid a spike strip laid down by agents, sending the vehicle tumbling down an embankment, said Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
February 8, 2006 | Nick Timiraos, Times Staff Writer
Mexican military personnel illegally crossed the border last month and aided Mexican drug traffickers pursued by the U.S. Border Patrol, a law enforcement official and the head of the Border Patrol union told a congressional hearing Tuesday. The Jan. 23 incident involving U.S.
January 31, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
The U.S. Border Patrol has arrested a Mexican immigration official caught traveling in the United States with a group of undocumented migrants, and may charge him with human smuggling, U.S. officials said. Immigration agent Francisco Javier Gutierrez, 43, was stopped Sunday at a checkpoint near Alamogordo, N.M., about 80 miles north of the border, said Doug Mosier, a spokesman for the Border Patrol in El Paso.
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