Former CBP Inspector Indicted on Bribery

HOUSTON–A former Customs and Border Protection inspector from the Rio Grande Valley was indicted by a federal grand jury for providing false statements during an investigation and bribery.

Federal prosecutors said Manuel Salazar, 45, formerly a CBP inspector at the Pharr Port of Entry, lied to federal investigators twice during a federal investigation in 2009 and was involved with six counts of bribery from 2007 to 2008.

The federal grand jury indicted back on November 10, but it wasn’t unsealed until his arrest on Thursday in Mission. He is charged with two counts of making a false statements and six counts of bribery.

The indictment states federal authorities believe Salazar in his job as CBP inspector provided information to drug traffickers and allowed narcotics to be transported across the Pharr International Bridge.

If convicted, Salazar could face up to 5 years in federal prison for lying to a federal investigator, while for each bribery count, he could face up to 15 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

Salazar made his first appearance in federal court on Friday and a judge ordered him held without bond until the start of his trial. His trial is scheduled to start on Tuesday.

–Manuel De La Rosa, South Texas Tribune,

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