HOUSTON – An associate of a
former U.S. Border Patrol (BP) agent has been sentenced to for conspiring to
accept money in return for helping to smuggle marijuana and other illegal drugs
into the United States.
U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick,
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s
Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI’s
Houston Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Juan B. Benavides of
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) - Houston made the announcement.
U.S. District Judge Gray H.
Miller sentenced Daniel Hernandez, 46, of Roseville, California, to 48 months
in prison to be followed by one year of supervised release and ordered him to
forfeit $5,000. Hernandez pleaded guilty Feb. 5, 2019, to one count of bribery
before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy K. Johnson.
According to the plea documents,
between 2013 and May 2014, Hernandez and BP agent Robert John Hall Jr., of
LaFeria, agreed and took overt acts to facilitate the trafficking of illegal
drugs, including marijuana, into the United States from Mexico on behalf of a
drug trafficking organization (DTO). In exchange for cash payments, they
provided an individual they believed to be a member of the DTO with CBP sensor
locations, the locations of unpatrolled roads at or near the U.S.-Mexico
border, the number of BP agents working in a certain area, keys to unlock CBP
locks located on gates to ranch fences along the border and CBP radios. In
total, Hernandez accepted approximately $5,000 in cash in return for facilitating
shipments of illegal narcotics into Texas without law enforcement detection.
Hall was previously sentenced to 114 months in prison.
The FBI investigated the case
with assistance from CBP - Office of Professional
Responsibility. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Pearson and Arthur R. Jones
and Trial Attorneys Rebecca Moses and Peter M. Nothstein of the Criminal
Division’s Public Integrity Section are prosecuting the case.