TUCSON, Ariz. – Yesterday, Carlos Victor Passapera Pinott, 53, of
Buckeye, Arizona, was arrested on multiple counts of conspiracy and
possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. Passapera
was charged by complaint, and had his initial appearance today before
United States Magistrate Judge Leslie A. Bowman of the District of
According to the complaint:
Passapera is a Border Patrol Agent assigned to the Tucson Sector Ajo
Border Patrol Station. On August 9, 2020, at approximately 3:15 AM,
Passapera left his residence and drove south to a remote area of the
border west of the Lukeville Port of Entry. Passapera then drove to
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, where he loaded two duffel
bags into another vehicle. Law enforcement agents stopped the driver of
that vehicle after it left the airport, and searched the duffel bags.
The bags contained multiple packages of substances that field tested
positive for the characteristics of cocaine (21 kilograms), heroin (1
kilogram), and fentanyl (1 kilogram). The bags also contained
approximately 350,000 pills. A sample from the pills field tested
positive for the characteristics of fentanyl.
Law enforcement agents took Passapera into custody later that day
while executing a search warrant at his residence. During the search,
agents found approximately $329,000 in U.S. currency in Passapera’s
residence, and an additional $40,000 in the vehicle Passapera used to
transport the illegal narcotics.
Convictions for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute
controlled substances carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, a
mandatory minimum penalty of ten years, and up to a $10,000,000 fine.
A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is
charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An
individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to
a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The charges resulted from an investigation led by the Federal Bureau
of Investigation’s Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force, the Homeland
Security Investigations, NATIVE Task Force in Sells, and the Drug
Enforcement Administration. The Public Integrity Section of the U.S.
Attorney’s Office in Tucson is handling the prosecution.
CASE NUMBER: 20-02951MJ
RELEASE NUMBER: 2020-067_Passapera