Former U.S. Border Patrol Agent Sentenced to Seven And A Half Years in Prison for Bribery and Drug Trafficking
TUCSON, Ariz. – Today, Alberto M. Michel, 41, of Casa Grande, Ariz., was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge David C. Bury. Michel had previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to traffic marijuana and one count of accepting a bribe as a public official. He received a sentence of 90 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release and a $24,000 forfeiture judgment.
In his plea agreement, Michel admitted that while employed as a United States Border Patrol Agent, with the Tucson Sector Border Patrol Intelligence Unit, he participated in a drug conspiracy by providing surveillance during drug smuggling efforts. Additionally, Michel provided assistance regarding law enforcement interdiction efforts. He also agreed to receive cash payments equal to $40 per pound of marijuana smuggled and received a total of $24,000 during the course of the conspiracy.
On Aug. 3, 2017 and Aug. 7, 2017, Michel received cash payments totaling $12,000 for agreeing, as a sworn public official, to violate his sworn duty to investigate and interdict narcotics smugglers.
Michel had been employed with United States Border Patrol since 2009. By 2016, he had been promoted to an enhanced role with the Tucson Sector Border Patrol Intelligence Unit, where he had a higher security clearance and had access to information regarding high-level law enforcement and national security operations and techniques.
Co-defendants Eunice M. Lopez and Marco Antonio L. Bustamante are scheduled for Change of Plea Hearings on May 15, 2018.
The investigation was conducted by members of the Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force that consists of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security – Office of the Inspector General, Customs and Border Protection – Office of Professional Responsibility, Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Office of Professional Responsibility, and Tucson Police Department. Prosecution was handled by Sarah B. Houston and Gordon E. Davenport III, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Tucson.
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