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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ex-Border Patrol agent, state prison corrections officer plead guilty

Yuma SunA former Yuma Sector Border Patrol agent and a former corrections officer at a Yuma-area state prison have both pleaded guilty to conspiring to help a drug trafficking organization smuggle illegal entrants and drugs into the United States.

Ivhan Herrera-Chiang, 29, who at the time was stationed in Yuma, and Michael Lopez-Garcia, 28, who used to be assigned to the Arizona State Prison Complex in San Luis, pleaded guilty to plea agreements in federal court in Phoenix.

Herrera-Chiang entered his guilty plea to bribery of a public official on Friday. The plea deal calls for Herrera to be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, pay a maximum fine of $250,000 and serve three years of supervised probation after his release.

His sentencing date has been scheduled for 10 a.m. June 25 in U.S. District Court of Arizona in Phoenix.

Lopez-Garcia pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute on May 22. Under the terms of his plea agreement, he could be sentenced to a maximum prison term of up to five years, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised probation.

For the count of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute, Lopez-Garcia faces a prison sentence from 10 years to life, a $10 million fine and up to five years of supervised probation upon his release.

He is scheduled to be sentenced within the next few weeks.

Herrera-Chiang’s alleged role was to obtain and disclose sensitive information, including sensor maps, combinations to gates near the U.S-Mexican border, computer records concerning prior drug seizures and the identity of confidential informants. He had access to such information by virtue of his membership in a Border Patrol intelligence unit. continue reading...

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