BROWNSVILLE–A former Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer plead guilty to drug trafficking, immigrant smuggling and bribery just before his trial was suppose to start.
Luis Enrique Ramirez, 38, of Brownsville admitted that between November 2007 and January 2009, while employed as a CBP officer, he was a member of a drug trafficking organization.
He admitted that on Dec. 17, 2008, he allowed a co-conspirator to drive a vehicle laden with 12 kilograms of cocaine into the United States via a vehicle primary inspection lane he was manning at the time.
Ramirez also admitted that between July 2008 through January 2009, he worked with others to bring illegal immigrants into the United States and to transport them for money and accepting bribes to influence him in his official capacity as a CBP officer.
U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, who accepted the guilty pleas and convicted Ramirez, also entered a preliminary order of criminal forfeiture ordering Ramirez to forfeit $500,000, a sum representing the proceeds of Ramirez’s criminal activity, to the United States.
He can face up to life in prison for his cocaine trafficking conviction and a fine of up to $4 million. He faces up to 10 years for the immigrant smuggling conspiracy conviction. The bribery conviction is punishable up to 15 years. Each of these three convictions also carries a maximum fine of $250,000.
Judge Hanen has set sentencing for June 6, 2011. Ramirez has been in custody without bond since his arrest on Oct. 30, 2010.
–South Texas Tribune, firstname.lastname@example.org
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