3 hours & 53 minutes ago
Federal officer arrested in alien smuggling case
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September 30, 2009 4:10 PM

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was arrested Tuesday for his role in an alien smuggling operation, officials said.

Javier Cavazos, 50, a CBP officer for 16 years, has been charged with alien smuggling, said CBP spokesman Eddie Perez. Details of Cavazos’ arrest were not available Wednesday afternoon. Perez added that Cavazos is no longer an employee of CBP.

Agents with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Professional Responsibility (ICE OPR) began investigating Cavazos on Dec. 18 of last year after U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested French national Brian Atlan at the Harlingen airport, on the charge of being an undocumented alien illegally present in the country, records show.

Months after his arrest and still in custody, Atlan told ICE agents that he hired a smuggler named "Dave" to help him get into the country, according to records. Agents obtained the bridge surveillance video of Atlan’s entry into the country through Cavazos’ lane at the Gateway International Bridge.

On September 29, ICE OPR agents met with the man identified as "Dave" who "admitted" to smuggling Atlan into the country for a $5,000 payment of which he would receive $200, according to ICE OPR with Cavazos receiving $4,800.

"Dave" told investigators that on the day before transporting Atlan, he met with Cavazos at his home in Los Fresnos; Cavazos then stamped Atlan’s passport and a blank immigration form, according to federal records.

Further investigation into surveillance videos and of CBP databases revealed that Cavazos didn’t check Atlan’s passport or perform the required database search, ICE OPR said

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