Former Border Patrol Agent Sentenced to 20 Months in Prison
Tucson, Ariz. – Yesterday, former Border Patrol Agent Alex Pena was sentenced to 20 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson. Pena had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import between 60 and 80 kilograms of marijuana, and had resigned from the Border Patrol following his indictment.
Pena admitted that while assigned to the Nogales Border Patrol Station, he entered into an agreement with other individuals to smuggle marijuana into the United States from Mexico. In the early morning hours of Aug. 2, 2016, Pena drove from his residence in Tucson to the Border Patrol Station while dressed in his Border Patrol uniform. He took a marked Border Patrol vehicle from the parking lot without permission as cover to retrieve marijuana bundles to be brought into the United States by smugglers on foot in a remote area south of Patagonia. Pena drove to that location, arriving there at about 2:30 a.m. Although no marijuana was recovered, the subsequent investigation indicated that several individuals met Pena at that location. His guilty plea confirmed his agreement to participate in the smuggling plan.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth A. Strange stated: “It is a sad day when a sworn law enforcement officer violates his oath. But no one is above the law, and our office will vigorously pursue corruption cases to ensure that those responsible for enforcing the law do not flout it.”
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General. The prosecution was handled by Wallace H. Kleindienst, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.
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