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  • Goodyear Independent

    Buckeye man sentenced for drug smuggling, bribery as border patrol agent

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    A 56-year-old Buckeye man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to drug charges and bribery of a public official, authorities said.

    Carlos Victor Passapera Pinott also faces five years of supervised release following his prison term.

    On Aug. 9, 2020, while working as a U.S. border patrol agent, Passapera drove his border patrol vehicle into the desert, west of the Lukeville Port of Entry, to get two duffel bags, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

    He then changed vehicles and transported the duffel bags to  Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, where he parked and loaded the bags into the vehicle of a co-conspirator, the release stated.

    The co-conspirator was stopped by law enforcement shortly after leaving the airport parking lot.

    A search of the two duffel bags revealed multiple packages of cocaine, fentanyl and heroin. An additional $311,100 in U.S. currency was seized from Passapera’s safe deposit box, authorities said.

    “Passapera admitted to accepting large cash payments in exchange for using his position to smuggle drugs,” the release stated.

    “Defendant Passapera has betrayed his Border Patrol colleagues,” U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino said. “The Border Patrol has earned the trust of a grateful nation for its exemplary efforts to protect the border and to humanely process the migrants who come to America for a better life.”

    Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari said the former agent’s acts were “unconscionable.

    “Today’s sentencing sends a clear message that government officials who betray the people they are meant to protect are held accountable.”

    We’d like to invite our readers to submit their civil comments on this issue. Email .

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