SAN DIEGO (CN) – A Customs and Border Protection officer is charged with conspiring to import cocaine and taking bribes. Oscar Osbaldo Ortiz-Martinez accepted $22,000 to let loads through his lane at Calexico, and was arrested during a meeting at which he thought he would get another $30,000, federal prosecutors said.
Ortiz, 30, of Calexico, could face up to life in prison if convicted. Also arrested and charged was Victor Manuel Silva Jr., also 30, of Calexico, who is charged with arranging the bribes.
“Ortiz-Martinez used his official position at the Calexico Ports of Entry to allow what he believed to be loads of illegal narcotics to enter into the United States through his assigned lanes,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “In return for his participation, he received cash bribes, which Silva helped arrange.”
Prosecutors added: “the defendants believed they were working for individuals with ties to a drug trafficking organization when, in fact, they were undercover agents and federal law enforcement cooperators posing as narcotics traffickers.”
They are charged with conspiracy to import cocaine, bribery, and attempting to aid and abet importation of cocaine, and of methamphetamine.