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BP agent indicted on bribery charges
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BP agent indicted on bribery charges

Tucson man accused of taking money to allow smuggling through checkpoiont

A Tucson Sector Border Patrol agent was indicted Thursday on bribery charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Monday.

Abel Canales of Tucson was charged with conspiracy to accept a bribe and acceptance of a bribe after he allegedly took money to allow a U-Haul truck that he believed contained illegal contraband to pass through the I-19 checkpoint in fall 2008, said Manny Tarango, a U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman.

Canales is accused of conspiring on the morning of Oct. 30, 2008, with a go-between who met with a person believed to be a drug or human smuggler near Rio Rico to coordinate the passage of either narcotics and illegal immigrants, or both.

After a phone call to Canales, the smuggler was instructed to have the truck’s driver travel north on I-19, where a car driven by Canales’ alleged partner would drive in front of the U-Haul through the checkpoint, Tarango said.

After several calls between Canales and his alleged partner, Canales told another Border Patrol agent working the checkpoint to take the car driven by the co-conspirator to a secondary inspection area, Tarango said.

While that vehicle was being inspected, Canales asked the U-Haul’s driver if he was a U.S. citizen. The driver responded “buenos dias,” and was passed through the checkpoint, Tarango said.

That afternoon, Canales’ alleged partner met with two people who were believed to be the owners of the truck's load and received a manila envelope containing $8,000, Tarango said.

Around 6 p.m., Canales' partner drove his vehicle to the Walmart parking lot in Nogales, Ariz., where Canales allegedly approached the car and returned to his vehicle with a manila envelope, Tarango said.

Canales' arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 10 in Tucson.

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