Crooked cop gets 5 years in prison for immigrant smuggling

A former Customs and Border Protection officer who took bribes of money and sex to allow immigrants into the U.S. illegally through the San Ysidro Port of Entry was sentenced Monday to five years in prison.

Jose Luis Cota pleaded guilty in January to three charges of smuggling immigrants for financial gain and another charge of bribery. He admitted he was part of a small group of smugglers who brought in at least 10 people at a cost as high as $15,000 each, according to court records.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller also ordered Cota to forfeit two cars and $63,837 in cash — proceeds he got from the smuggling operation.

Cota was a 15-year veteran of Customs and Border Protection. From November 2015 to September 2016, court documents said, Cota worked with the husband-and-wife team of Miriam Juarez Herrera and Gilberto Aguilar Martinez to smuggle people through his inspection lane in San Ysidro.

He is the latest border officer to be ensnared in corruption allegations. Since 2004, when the federal government embarked on a hiring spree that doubled the size of CBP and the Border Patrol, some 200 officers and agents have been arrested on misconduct and corruption charges

Source: LA Times


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