Tuesday, July 12, 2011

U.S. goes after agents working for drug cartels

The story splattered across Mexican newspapers looked painfully familiar -- a government official was found guilty of betraying the trust of the public and moonlighting for the drug cartels that have torn this country apart. But the official who was on Wednesday sentenced to 17 years in prison had not worked for the Mexican government like so many other policemen, pen-pushers or politicians who have taken narco money. Luis Enrique Ramirez was an agent for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol or CBP. A judge in Brownsville, Texas, handed Ramirez the sentence after he pleaded guilty to waving dozens of cars laden with cocaine over the bridge from Mexico into the United States over three years. In total, Ramirez is alleged to have collected $500,000 in narco bribes for his handiwork. The conviction is part of a U.S. government drive to clean up the CBP amid allegations that hundreds of agents could have been tempted by the glitter of gangster gold. The revelations have caused strains on both sides of the border amid a drug cartel war that has claimed 40,000 lives here since 2006...more

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