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Posted Sep 26, 2011, 7:42 pm
A Customs and Border Protection officer was indicted by a federal grand jury Monday on charges he allowed five people to bring marijuana across the border while he was working at the Douglas Port of Entry, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
CBP Officer Luis Carlos Vasquez, 32, was arrested Friday after an investigation by the FBI, ICE and the Douglas Police Department found he allegedly allowed marijuana to cross the border on his watch at an inspection line, the indictment said.
Vasquez is charged with conspiring with Victor Stuppi, 40; Jesus Antonio Chavez Bustamante, 25; Karla Beatriz Prieto, 23, all of Douglas; and Saul Lizarraga Roldan, 37, and Marcos Abraham Sandoval Lizarraga, 22, both of Agua Prieta, Mexico, to possess with intent to distribute marijuana.
Vasquez also is charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to import marijuana, and importation of marijuana, said Sandy Raynor, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in a press release.
On July 17, Vasquez allegedly allowed 547 kilograms of marijuana transported in an SUV to pass through his inspection lane at the Douglas Port of Entry, Raynor said.
“Law enforcement officials must be held to a higher standard of conduct,” said Ann Birmingham Scheel, acting U.S. Attorney, in the press release.
“In the rare and regrettable circumstance where a sworn officer crosses the line into criminal conduct and violates their oath and the public’s trust, they will be brought to justice,” Scheel said.
Vasquez was released pending trial on a $100,000 bond. Stuppi was released on a $50,000 bond. Prieto was released pending trial. Chavez-Bustamante and Lizarraga-Roldan were detained pending trial, and Sandoval-Lizarraga remains at large.
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Vasquez faces a maximum of 40 years in prison on each charge if convicted.
TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.