An Arizona Motor Carrier Border Inspector has pled guilty and been sentenced for accepting a bribe from a suspected drug trafficker.
Motor Carrier Border Inspector Sentenced For Accepting Bribe
Claudio Estrada pled guilty to a single fraud charge in the U.S. District Court in Tucson, Arizona, following a joint investigation involving the Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector General and the FBI.
According to investigators, Estrada accepted a $1000 bribe while on duty at the Naco Port of Entry in December of 2012. In exchange for the bribe, investigators say that Estrada “provided assistance with illegal smuggling operations through the Naco, Arizona, port of entry.”
Estrada was arrested in July of 2016 and entered a plea of “not guilty”.
However, according to an FMCSA release, Estrada changed his plea to “guilty” and was sentenced on the misdemeanor fraud charge on June 26, 2017.
Estrada’s sentence included a $1000 fine. He was also ordered to resign from his position FMCSA and may never again work for the Department of Transportation or any other federal agency with operations at the border.
Bribery At The Border Is A Growing Problem
According to a report in the New York Times, in the past 10 years almost 200 employees and contract workers employed by the federal government have taken $15 million in bribes while being tasked with securing the nation’s borders and enforcing immigration law. The Times says that the $15 million figure is likely a gross underestimation.