More than 500 employees of the Customs and Border Protection agency were charged with drug trafficking, accepting bribes and a range of other crimes in 2016 and 2017, agency reports show.
More than 500 employees of the main federal border security agency were charged with drug trafficking, accepting bribes and a range of other crimes over a two-year period, the New York Times reports. Reports on the charges released by Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Human Resource Management and its Office of Professional Responsibility, covered the years 2016 and 2017. The most common arrests related to misconduct involving drugs or alcohol; 109 employees faced those kinds of charges in 2016, and 119 in 2017. Domestic or family misconduct was the second most common reason for the arrest of border agency employees — 51 in 2017, up from 44 the previous year.
Customs and Border Protection has a budget of over $15 billion and is the parent agency of the Border Patrol. It employs more than 60,000 people, making it the largest single U.S. law enforcement agency. Agency officials said the release of the annual reports underscores their commitment to transparency and swift actions to weed out employees who violate the law or internal policies. Customs and Border Protection has been accused of using excessive force against migrants. In 2017, the reports showed, the agency opened 252 cases involving use of force by border agents, down from 338 in 2016. Twelve excessive force cases last year resulted in the serious injury or the death of an individual, down from 23 in 2016. Several high-profile acts of violence this year by Border Patrol agents around Laredo, Tx., focused national attention on the agency. Last month, an agent who had worked at the Border Patrol for 10 years was charged with killing four women and assaulting a fifth over a two-week period. Agent Juan David Ortiz, 35, was arrested after fleeing Texas state troopers who had confronted him at a gas station; he was found hiding in a hotel parking garage.