Border securityDHS officials charged with falsifying records related to border region crimes

Published 12 April 2013

Federal prosecutors in Texas have charged two DHS agents with falsifying records. The agents were responsible for identifying corruption in other law enforcement agencies operating along the U.S-Mexico border.

Federal prosecutors in Texas have charged two  DHS agents  with falsifying records.

Yahoo News reports that  Eugenio Pedraza, who served as a special agent at the Homeland Security Office of Inspector General in McAllen, Texas,  was tasked with  identifying corruption in other law enforcement agencies operating along the U.S-Mexico border.

Pedraza and Marco Rodriguez, who reported  to Pedraza, falsified records from seven different investigations of officers who worked for the Customs and Border Protection (CBP),  as well as Border Patrol agents, who were accused of accepting bribes  to allow drug shipments and illegal immigrants through ports of entry between 2009 and 2011. Rodriguez, 40, personally worked on two of the seven investigations.

Five other agents under Pedraza were assigned to the other cases in which information was falsified, but they are not mentioned in the indictment.

Yahoo News reports that Pedraza and Rodriguez were in court in Brownsville, Texas on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to the charges. The bond for each of them was set at $50,000. No defense attorneys were listed in court documents.

Prosecutors accused Pedraza with directing the people who worked under him to draft and place backdated memos into investigative files, which falsely showed progress in cases and case reviews that were never performed. Pedraza is also accused of failing to notify the FBI promptly that one of its agents was under investigation.

AJustice Department statement said Pedraza, 49, covered up “severe lapses” in investigative standards ahead of an internal review of the McAllen office. According to the department, Pedraza came up with the plan in order to make it appear to investigators reviewing Pedraza’s office that his cases were being worked properly.

Wayne Ball, another former agent, has already pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to falsify records in federal investigations and his sentencing will occur on 31 July.  

If convicted, Rodriguez and Pedraza could face a maximum sentence of twenty years for each charge and a fine of $250,000 per count.