3 Records of Alleged Abusive or Improper Conduct involving “Border Patrol” where the accountability status is “Criminal Conviction”

December 14, 2022

A Tucson, Arizona federal district judge sentenced former Border Patrol agent Ramon Antonio Monreal Rodriguez to 152 months in prison, and $151,000 in restitution to Border Patrol.

Monreal, who worked at the Three Points Station in Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, was found guilty of purchasing firearms for felons, and conspiring with Mexican drug traffickers to take their product past Border Patrol checkpoints, often inside his Border Patrol vehicle. According to a December 27, 2022 Justice Department statement, “He admitted to distributing 116 kilograms of cocaine and 107 kilograms of marijuana as part of the conspiracy.” (Original link)

The Arizona Daily Star reported more details of the case in 2019:

Monreal was accused of picking up 90 pounds of cocaine from smugglers in a wash near the San Miguel Gate, a remote border crossing on the Tohono O’odham Reservation, while on duty around 1:30 a.m. Sept. 18. Monreal allegedly handed the smugglers the first payment of $334,000 and kept the cocaine in his Border Patrol vehicle for the rest of his shift.

Four days later, he allegedly went back to the border while on duty and handed over $317,000 to the smugglers. Monreal’s payment was 6 pounds of narcotics and $66,000, a special agent with the FBI wrote in a criminal complaint.

Federal prosecutors also said Monreal tried to arrange the assault of a corrections officer at a federal prison in Southern Arizona who was dating his ex-girlfriend, what Monreal called “a little tune-up” in audio messages recovered by investigators, court records show.

Monreal also asked a drug trafficker to make his ex-girlfriend “disappear.” Monreal was not charged for the alleged threats.

This case was investigated by the Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force (SACTF) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The SACTF includes personnel from the FBI, the DHS Inspector-General’s office, the Offices of Professional Responsibility for ICE and CBP, the DEA, and the Tucson Police Department.

— United States Department of Justice. “Former Border Patrol Agent Sentenced to More Than 12 Years on Bribery, Firearms, and Narcotics Charges,” December 27, 2022. <https://www.justice.gov/usao-az/pr/former-border-patrol-agent-sentenced-more-12-years-bribery-firearms-and-narcotics-charges>.

— Prendergast, Curt. “Indictment: Arizona Border Agent Smuggled 255 Lbs. of Cocaine, $1.2M in Cash.” Arizona Daily Star. March 5, 2019. <https://tucson.com/news/local/indictment-arizona-border-agent-smuggled-255-lbs-of-cocaine-1-2m-in-cash/article_b7748288-1e83-5768-a4a0-c70f3a3fa434.html>.

— “USA v. Monreal-Rodriguez et al. 4:18-Cr-02215.” Administrative Office of the United States Courts, June 6, 2022. <https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/USCOURTS-azd-4_18-cr-02215>.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Corruption

Last Known Accountability Status: Criminal Conviction

Victim Classification:

July 21, 2021

Gregson Martínez, a Border Patrol processing coordinator at the Processing Center in Donna, Texas, struck a 17-year-old Honduran citizen in the face while questioning him about his age and citizenship. Mr. Martínez was terminated on August 2, 2021, and pled guilty on May 13, 2022 to violating the teenager’s constitutional rights. (original link)

The DHS Office of Inspector-General and CBP Office of Professional Responsibility conducted the investigation of Martínez, and the U.S. Department of Justice prosecuted the case. Martínez faces up to a year in prison and a possible maximum $100,000 fine; sentencing was scheduled for June 24, 2022.

— “Federal agent admits to violating civil rights of a Honduran teenager” (Texas: U.S. Department of Justice, May 13, 2022) https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdtx/pr/federal-agent-admits-violating-civil-rights-honduran-teenager.

Sector(s): Rio Grande Valley

Agency(ies): Processing Coordinators

Event Type(s): Abuse of Minor, Use of Force

Last Known Accountability Status: Criminal Conviction, DHS OIG investigation Closed, Judicial Case Closed, OPR Investigation Closed

Victim Classification: Honduras, Unaccompanied Child

July 15, 2021

Border Patrol agent Rodney Tolson pled guilty to conspiring to transport an undocumented alien within the United States. Tolson admitted taking $400-per-person payments in 2019 for allowing non-citizens to pass through the Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate Highway 35 north of Laredo, Texas.

According to the plea agreement, as cited in the Washington Post, Tolson helped a migrant smuggler by “waving him through the checkpoint.”

According to the co-conspirator, Tolson would call to report “which lane and time window to use for crossing through the checkpoint,” the plea agreement says.

At one point, the co-conspirator asked if Tolson was ready to make money.

“U know it,” Tolson said in a WhatsApp social media message the co-conspirator shared with federal agents.

Their transactions would usually take place in the parking lot of a Walmart near the border, where Tolson would receive $400 per person, the documents state.

The DHS Inspector General and CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility investigated Tolson’s case, and referred it to the Department of Justice. On May 24, 2022, Tolson was sentenced in Laredo federal district court to 21 months in prison (original link).

— Julian Mark, “A Border Patrol agent was supposed to guard a U.S.-Mexico checkpoint. He took $400 bribes to smuggle migrants.” (Washington: The Washington Post, July 14, 2021) https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/07/14/border-patrol-agent-admits-bribes/.

— “Federal agent sent to prison for alien smuggling” (Laredo: U.S. Department of Justice Southern District of Texas, May 24, 2022) https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdtx/pr/federal-agent-sent-prison-alien-smuggling.

Sector(s): Laredo

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Corruption

Last Known Accountability Status: Criminal Conviction, DHS OIG investigation Closed, Judicial Case Closed, OPR Investigation Closed

Victim Classification: