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Father and Son Claim DHS Defamed Them

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (CN) - An immigration officer claims in court that the Department of Homeland Security defamed him and his father, claiming they worked for a Mexican drug cartel and that the son went on a "cocaine snorting binge."

Sergio A. Luna and his father Sergio Alberto Luna Saldivar sued DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and six other DHS officials in separate, but nearly identical, federal lawsuits.

Sergio Luna still works for the DHS, he says in the complaint.

The complaints contain an alphabet soup of acronyms: OIG for Office of the Inspector General, SAIC for Special Agent In Charge, IEA for Immigration Enforcement Agent, OPR for Office of Professional Responsibility and SA for special agent.

The son's complaint states: "On or about April 17, 2012, IEA Luna was served with a propose to remove letter by the DHS. The DHS' propose to remove letter also provided IEA Luna a Report of Investigation (ROI) completed by the DHS' OIG and the Officer of OPR.

"Within the ROI, the OIG presented an Investigative Summary (IS) citing that the 'Reporting Agent' SAs Camilo Garcia, and the 'Approving Official' as SAIC Gene Pedrara, both executed the IS on July 14, 2011. The SAs cited that:

"'The SOIs [sources of information] state that IEA Luna allegedly offered narcotic smuggling organizations based out of Matamoros, MX protection from law enforcement as narcotic laden vehicles are transported within South Texas.

"'According to the SOIs, IEA Luna's father was previously a member of a narcotic smuggling organization based out of Matamoros, MX. The SOIs state IEA Luna and his father remain in contact with the organization.'

"IEA Luna is alleged to have [been on] a cocaine snorting binge." (Parentheses and brackets in complaint.)

Sergio Luna claims the defendant DHS officials first made these statements in November 2009, but he did not know about it until the agency served him with the proposal to remove letter in April 2012.

Luna and his father both deny all the allegations.

"IEA Luna categorically denies that he ever offered '... narcotic smuggling organizations based out of Matamoros, MX, protection from law enforcement ...'

"IEA Luna categorically denies that he was ever and/or remains '... in contact with the [narcotic smuggling] organization.'

"IEA Luna categorically denies that he participated in 'a cocaine snorting binge.'" (Ellipses and brackets in complaint.)

Luna's father says in his complaint that he "is a retired Mexican Federal law enforcement supervisor who served as a First Inspector (Commandant) for the Unit of the Fiscal Inspector and Customs for the Intelligence Department of Mexico."

He "categorically denies that he was ever a member of a narcotic smuggling organization based out of Matamoros, Mexico," and that "he is and/or keeps in contact with any narcotic organization."

The violent, and wealthy, Gulf Cartel is based in Matamoros, just across the border from Brownsville.

Father and son each seek $1.5 million in damages for defamation and civil rights violations.

They are represented by Lorenzo Tijerina of San Antonio.

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