Houston, Texas - An associate of a former U.S. Border Patrol Agent (BPA) was sentenced to 48 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release for conspiring to accept money in return for helping to smuggle marijuana and other illegal drugs into the United States.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas Ryan K. Patrick, Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI’s Houston Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Juan B. Benavides of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Houston, made the announcement.
Daniel Hernandez, 46, of Roseville, California, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller of the Southern District of Texas, who also ordered Hernandez to forfeit $5,000. Hernandez pleaded guilty to one count of bribery on Feb. 5, 2019, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy K. Johnson of the Southern District of Texas.
According to the plea documents, between 2013 and May 2014, Hernandez and the BPA, Robert John Hall Jr., 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 BPAs 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.
The FBI investigated the case with assistance from CBP Office of Professional Responsibility. Trial Attorneys Rebecca Moses and Peter M. Nothstein of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Pearson and Arthur R. Jones of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.