A federal judge sentenced former U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer, his girlfriend, his nephew, and two of their associates Thursday for a bribery and illegal alien smuggling scheme spanning two years, the FBI announced.
Juan Carlos Guerrero, 39, received nine years and must pay a $30,000 fine as part of the sentence. Before his arrest, Guerrero worked the midnight shift at the Hidalgo, Pharr, and Anzaldvas ports of entry, where he was responsible for inspections of vehicles heading into the United States from Mexico.
Between January and May 2011, Guerrero and Claudia Flores, 34, ran an illegal-immigrant smuggling operation. Illegals from Mexico were smuggled through Guerrero's inspection lanes in exchange for bribe payments of between $500 and $3,000 per person. Guerrero later said he allowed 80 to 165 people illegal entry to the U.S.
Maribel Rivera, 43, said she identified the Mexican nationals; communicated smuggling prices and details of the illegal crossings; and collected bribe payments on the behalf of Guerrero and Flores. Rodolfo Caballero Rojas, 40, drove the people through Guerrero's lane. Guerrero's nephew, 20-year-old Jose Cantu, organized separate crossings of 45 to 60 illegal immigrants. He also smuggled 168.8 kilos of marijuana and 3.9 kilos of cocaine through Guerrero's lane, according to federal records.