U.S. Customs Officer Let Smugglers Pass in Trade for Lawnmower Repairs

CBP officer at San Ydidro Port of Entry interviews a traveler while wearing PPE. (File Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Mani Albrecht)
File Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Mani Albrecht

A federal officer will spend two years in prison for his role in helping a group of men smuggle liquor and medicine into Texas. In trade, the smugglers fixed the officer’s lawnmower and other handyman tasks.

This week, Simon Medina III,41, went before U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo in Laredo who sentenced him to two years in prison for a smuggling conspiracy. Medina previously pleaded guilty to the charge on March 8. Medina was a Field Operations Officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the time of the offenses and helped three men smuggle liquor and medication at an international port of entry in Laredo. Medina was fired by CBP.

Medina helped three men identified as Rafael Alvarez, Pablo Granado, and Jose Roberto Granado smuggle goods or “encargos” into the country.

The case against Medina began in July 2020, when federal authorities received information that Medina was letting individuals flagged for a secondary inspection pass through and received a small plastic bag in return, court documents in the case revealed. CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility began an investigation and reviewed surveillance footage where they noticed that Medina ignored security alerts on three vehicles. Between May to August 2020, he allowed the three men to cross the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge approximately 20 times.

On one occasion, CBP supervisors notified OPR that Medina opened an inspection lane without authorization and allowed a red Chevrolet Suburban forward for primary inspection. Authorities stopped the driver and referred him to a secondary location where they found cases of liquor, beer, and medication.

In exchange, Medina took small gifts and had the smugglers fix his lawnmower, pressure washer, and perform carpentry work for his family, court documents revealed.

Luisana Moreno is a contributing writer for Breitbart Texas.

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